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Norwalk Workshop Awarded Grant To Track Asteroids

A member of Fairfield County Makers' Guild in Norwalk works on a project.
A member of Fairfield County Makers' Guild in Norwalk works on a project. Photo Credit: Facebook/Fairfield County Makers' Guild

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Fairfield County Makers' Guild, a nonprofit organization that operates a makerspace in Norwalk, has been awarded a $14,600 grant from SpaceGAMBIT, an international collaboration of space enthusiasts.

The guild's proposed project, titled "Central Spark,” was submitted in response to SpaceGAMBIT's call for community-built, open-source projects in line with NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge.

The challenge is to find all asteroid threats to human populations and to determine what to do about them. The "Central Spark" project has the goal of developing software that will help amateur scientists to more easily observe and track the orbits of nearby asteroids.

Locating and determining the orbits of nearby asteroids, which are called "Near Earth Asteroids," is important in order to identify objects that could potentially pose a threat of striking the Earth. Asteroid tracking and monitoring is currently done by professional and amateur astronomers.

The primary goal of "Central Spark" is to create software for use by amateur astronomers that will simplify, automate and speed the submission of astronomical sightings and discoveries to central object databases such as those maintained by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Center, as well as to distribute information about those observations to social media feeds and “Internet of Things” cloud services.

Taking the lead role in the "Central Spark" project will be Edward Kalin, a resident of Easton, who was one of the co-founders of FCMG.

Fairfield County Makers' Guild operates out of its facility on 327 Main Ave. For more information about the guild, see the group's website . For a complete list and descriptions of the projects funded by SpaceGAMBIT, visit its website.

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