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    8 February 2013

    The potential threat of asteroids among the key topics of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee at its 50th Session

    VIENNA, 8 February (UN Information Service) - How to deal with possible dangers from asteroids will be one of the key topics at the 50th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), which takes place in Vienna, Austria, from 11 to 22 February 2013.

    The Action Team on Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) will submit its "Recommendations for an international response to the near-Earth object impact threat" to the Subcommittee and its Working Group on NEOs. The recommendations aim to raise awareness so that all nations are aware of potential future NEO threats and can coordinate mitigation activities. As there will be a close approach to Earth by the asteroid DA14 on Friday, 15 February, this makes this item of the session even more relevant.

    Other key items for discussion include sustainable future use of outer space, space debris mitigation, disaster management and space weather research. In the two week session, the Subcommittee will also debate recent developments in global navigation satellite systems, safe use of nuclear power sources in outer space, the use of the geostationary orbit, and matters related to remote sensing of the Earth by satellites, including applications for developing countries. The Subcommittee will look at how the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), relate to the space agenda and the use of space technology and its applications in support of sustainable development goals.

    Other highlights of the 50 th session of the Subcommittee include:

    • On 11 February from 15:00-18:00, a symposium entitled "Overview of studies and concepts for active orbital debris removal", organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), will be held in Conference Room M1.
    • On 12 February from 14:00-15:00, there will be a "Curiosity on Mars" presentation by Noah Warner of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Conference Room M1. As the Tactical Uplink Lead for the Curiosity Surface Operations Team, Mr. Warner will give an insight into the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity's first six months on Mars, from initial touchdown on the surface of Mars to first attempts to drill rocks in Gale Crater. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session, and media are invited to the event.
    • On 12 February, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) will sign a cooperation agreement with Indonesia to establish Regional Support Office that will serve as the centre of expertise for implementing UNOOSA programme on disaster management - the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, UN-SPIDER.
    • On 14 February from 8:30-18:00, the International Living With a Star Tenth Anniversary Symposium, will be held in Room M7. with an accompanying exhibition, celebrating the International Space Weather Initiative, will be at display in the Rotunda of the VIC from 11 to 22 February. The programme of the Symposium is available at:
    • On 13 February from 13:10-14:10, a seminar entitled "Space and Sustainable Development: Japanese development assistance using satellite data for sustainable development" will be held in Conference Room M1.
    • Experiences and practices in the conduct of sustainable space activities will be shared by the representatives of national non-governmental organizations and private sector entities in a workshop on the long-term sustainability of outer space, which will be held on 14 February from 15:00-18:00 in Conference Room M1.

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    For further information, please contact:

    Romana Kofler
    United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962