Meteor shower

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has named an asteroid in memory of CNN space correspondent John Holliman who was killed in a car accident on September 12.

The asteroid, discovered by JPL astronomer Eleanor F. Helin on April 30, 1989 at the Palomar Observatory, will now be called 6711 Holliman. It has a diameter of about 10 kilometers (6 miles). The asteroid's orbit is inclined 15 degrees to the ecliptic plane - the plane on which the planets orbit the Sun - and moves in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter.

Holliman reported extensively on the role JPL played in space exploration. He was the network's lead anchor for the Pathfinder mission to Mars in July 1997 reporting on the landing and the subsequent mission as the spacecraft sent back video from the planet's surface.

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. Currently, Helin is the principal investigator for the NASA/JPL Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program that detects near Earth asteroids using a United States Air Force telescope at Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.


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