MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary Beth Murrill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 24, 1998
ASTEROID FINDER NAMED TO WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY HALL OF FAME
Asteroid finder and astronomer Eleanor F. Helin of NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, has been named to the
Women in Science and Technology International (WITI) Hall of
Fame, an award that honors women in science and technology
Helin will be honored at ceremonies to be held Thursday,
June 25, at 7 p.m., during the WITI 1998 Technology Summit in
Santa Clara, CA. The largest-ever conference of top women in
technology, the WITI 1998 Technology Summit will draw more than
3,500 technologists and scientists from around the world. WITI
Hall of Fame was launched in 1996 to recognize, honor, and
promote the outstanding contributions women make to the
scientific and technological communities and society at large.
Inductees are chosen by an independent panel of judges.
Donna Shirley, manager of JPL's Mars Exploration Program,
was inducted into the WITI Hall of Fame last year, and is a
featured speaker at Thursday's ceremonies.
Helin has been active in planetary science and astronomy for
more than three decades at the California Institute of Technology
and JPL, a division of Caltech managed for NASA. She is the
principal investigator for the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking
(NEAT) program, a collaborative effort of NASA, JPL and the U.S.
Air Force which has already detected more than 26,000 objects
including 30 near-Earth asteroids.
In the early 1970s, Helin initiated the Palomar Planet-
Crossing Asteroid Survey from Caltech's Palomar Observatory in
Southern California, resulting in the discovery of thousands of
asteroids of all types including 100 near-Earth asteroids and 20
comets. One of the most significant discoveries was that of
asteroid 2026 Aten, the first asteroid found to have an orbit
smaller than the Earth. Another of her asteroid discoveries, KD
1992, was recently named the new target for a flyby by to be
conducted in July 1999 by the NASA/JPL Deep Space 1 spacecraft,
due for launch this November.
Helin is a recipient of NASA's Exceptional Service Medal and
the 1997 JPL Award for Excellence for her leadership of the NEAT
program. The International Astronomical Union named asteroid
3267 Helin in her honor. Helin and her husband reside in
Thousand Oaks, CA.