Press Release

SGAC Announces Winners of “Move An Asteroid 2008” International Competition

By SpaceRef Editor
July 4, 2008
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Space Generation Advisory Council Announces Winners of “Move An Asteroid 2008” International Competition on 100th Anniversary of Tunguska Explosion

Vienna, Austria – 30 June 2008 – The Space Generation Advisory Council, the world’s largest group representing youth perspectives on space exploration to the United Nations and national space programs today announced the winners of an international youth technical paper competition to develop unique and innovative concepts for how to deflect an asteroid or comet that could impact the Earth (referred to as mitigation). The SGAC announced the competition results on the 100th anniversary of the last major impact of the Earth by an asteroid or comet, known as the Tunguska explosion. Financial support for this competition is provided by Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, SpaceWorks Commercial, and The Planetary Society.

First place in the competition is awarded to Mary D’Souza of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia for her paper entitled “A Body Solar Sail Concept for the Deflection of 99942 Apophis.” Ms. D’Souza’s concept involves wrapping an asteroid in a reflective film (referred to as a “body” solar sail). Such a coating may increase the asteroid’s reflectivity, enabling deflection by solar radiation pressure. Ms. D’Souza will receive a trip to present her paper at this year’s Space Generation Congress (SGC) and International Astronautical Congress (IAC) which take place in Glasgow, Scotland from late September until early October 2008.

Second place is awarded to Mr. Andrew Bacon of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bath in Bath, United Kingdom for his paper entitled “The Use of Electromechanical Resonators for the Mitigation of Earth Threatening Asteroids and Comets.” Mr. Bacon’s concept involves the use of electromechanical resonators to build up waves within an asteroid or comet that would break it up. Mr. Bacon will receive a trip to present his paper at this year’s SGC.

The competition called for individuals or teams under 33 years of age to write and submit a 3-10 page original technical paper on their innovative concept for mitigation. The contest called for papers to describe in technical detail a concept to move an asteroid or comet that is at least 140 meters in diameter. Contestants were advised to understand the overall challenge of asteroid/comet mitigation. For more rules and submission information, individuals can visit:

“We received submissions from all over the world and thank all the participants for developing creative Near Earth Object (NEO) mitigation strategies. The first and second place winners demonstrated an ability to think creatively about the problem and to explain it to the judges.”, said A.C. Charania, administrator of the Move An Asteroid 2008 Competition. “We hope to continue this competition next year and look forward to the presentations of the winners at this year’s Space Generation Congress (SGC) and International Astronautical Congress (IAC).”

“It is great to see such an interest in this topic from young people all over the world. Hopefully with competitions like this, SGAC can further increase the involvement of youth in this important field of current space research.”, said Alex Karl, Co-Chairperson of the Space Generation Advisory Council.

The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) is a non-government organization with observer status within UN COPUOS dedicated to representing the voice of today’s youth on tomorrow’s space issues. The SGAC was formed following the 1999 UNISPACE III conference in which 5 youth recommendations were included in the Vienna Declaration on Space and Human Development. SGAC has since dedicated itself to the pursuit of these recommendations and to encourage youth participation in space exploration and its applications on Earth. Space Generation Advisory Council projects rely entirely on volunteer contributions and support.

For more information about the Space Generation Advisory Council, please visit: Web site:


Space Generation Projects:


Phone: +43 1 718 11 18 30
Fax: +43 1 718 11 18 99

For more information about the “Move An Asteroid 2008” International Student & Young Professional Technical Paper Competition, please visit: Competition Website:

Mr. A.C. Charania Coordinator

“Move An Asteroid 2008”: International Technical Paper Competition
Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC)
Phone: +1 770 379 8006 (USA)

For more information on the Space Generation Congress (SGC) or the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), please visit: Space Generation Congress (SGC):

International Astronautical Congress (IAC):

SpaceRef staff editor.