Lecture on Dawn’s mission to the asteroid belt

This is a Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series talk, held last November at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It addressed some of the key aspects to NASA’s “Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission” as it looks to take human space travel to a new level by breaking out of the recent low Earth orbit missions. This talk was given by a long time veteran of the Jet Propulsion Lab, Brian Muirhead who is currently the Chief Engineer at JPL. Discussion included what is involved in planning a mission to the asteroid belt, possible target asteroids to capture, how to bring the asteroid back to orbit around the Moon for study, space craft design, propulsion, planetary defense techniques, robotic technologies required for such endeavours, and much more.