Goldstone

1981 QP. Discovered 1981 Aug. 30 by E. Bowell at Anderson Mesa.

Named for the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in Southern California's Mojave Desert. Goldstone is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Deep Space Network, which is managed, technically directed and operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology. Since 1962, the DSN has played a critical role in NASA's exploration of the solar system using unmanned spacecraft. The radio antennas at Goldstone and at similar facilities near Canberra, Australia, and

Madrid, Spain, are used to receive spacecraft telemetry and to transmit commands to the spacecraft. The largest antenna at Goldstone, Deep Space Station 14, is also used for planetary radar astronomy. It was in 1968 that Goldstone observations of (1566) Icarus, carried out by R. M. Goldstein {see planet (5393)}, yielded the first detection of radar echoes from a minor planet. (M 16447)

Name suggested and citation provided by S. J. Ostro.

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