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 worldwide.
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.
News Media Contact818-354-5011