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Posts Tagged ‘Asteroids’

Space alert: Hazardous asteroid nears Earth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 10, 2013

alert-hazardous-nears-asteroid.nAll eyes are set at the skies as a big hazardous asteroid is nearing Earth. According to scientists there is an actual possibility that the 300-meter-wide Apophis will eventually strike our planet, but the catastrophe is not imminent.

On Wednesday the dangerous space traveler is passing Earth at 14 million km – the distance which raises no concerns. Apophis near approach, which may have been observed around 00:00 GMT, was traced by Slooh Space Camera.

The asteroid is planning a series of come backs of which the one in 2036 is said to be most threatening.

Named after the Ancient Egyptian evil demon, Apophis was discovered in 2004. The initial estimations indicated the probability that in 2029 the asteroid would strike Earth. However, additional calculations lessened this possibility and postponed it till 2036.

According to NASA scientists in 2029 Apophis may pass through a gravitational keyhole which would change his orbit causing imminent collision with Earth in 2036.

Russian scientists are planning to plant the asteroid with a radio beacon to trace its orbit and the risks Apophis pose to our planet. But the mission will only take place after 2020. Read the rest of this entry »

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New telescope to guard Earth from killer asteroids

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 1, 2012

Image from b612foundation.org

Image from b612foundation.org

Some 500,000 asteroids are circulating near-Earth space and some of them may pose a real danger to our planet. But a US company says it plans to build a telescope that will be able to watch them.

Some asteroids may collide with Earth between 2020 and 2030, and only about 10,000 out of half a million have been catalogued to date – so  time is of the essence. But the B612 Foundation is certain its future telescope called Sentinel, which may be launched into orbit around the sun in about five years, can help to chart the rest of them in less than six years of operation.

“This is going to be the definitive map of the inner solar system,” says Ed Lu, a former NASA astronaut and B612 Foundation’s CEO.

Once completed, the map will help researchers spot potentially dangerous asteroids and identify others that could be targets for mining activities, for example. The goal is to have decades of notice, Lu told Reuters.

“I think it would be embarrassing if we were to be struck by a major asteroid in the next few decades simply because we didn’t choose to do the mapping that’s needed to find these asteroids,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Asteroid Telescope: Scientists Unveil Plan To Protect Earth From Rogue Space Rocks

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 29, 2012

By ALICIA CHANG AP Share on Google+

Asteroid Telescope

LOS ANGELES — Who will protect us from a killer asteroid? A team of ex-NASA astronauts and scientists thinks it’s up to them.

In a bold plan unveiled Thursday, the group wants to launch its own space telescope to spot and track small and mid-sized space rocks capable of wiping out a city or continent. With that information, they could sound early warnings if a rogue asteroid appeared headed toward our planet.

So far, the idea from the B612 Foundation is on paper only.

Such an effort would cost upward of several hundred million dollars, and the group plans to start fundraising. Behind the nonprofit are a space shuttle astronaut, Apollo 9 astronaut, former Mars czar, deep space mission manager along with other non-NASA types.

Asteroids are leftovers from the formation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago. Most reside in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter but some get nudged into Earth’s neighborhood.

NASA and a network of astronomers routinely scan the skies for these near-Earth objects. And they’ve found 90 percent of the biggest threats – asteroids at least two-thirds of a mile across that are considered major killers. Scientists believe it was a 6-mile-wide asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Asteroid Warning System: Report Calls For International Effort To Avert Possible Catastrophe

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 10, 2012

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Asteroid Warning System
By: Mike Wall @HP

The nations of the world need to work together to develop a warning and communication system that could mitigate the worst effects of a catastrophic asteroid strike, a new report stresses.

Such a system would issue international warnings about possible impending strikes and educate the public about the threats posed by near-Earth objects. It also would call government leaders’ and the public’s attention to the scientific value and potential economic importance of asteroids.

Coming up with international guidelines of this sort would not be easy, since nothing of its kind has been done before, write the authors of the report, which was issued by the nonprofit Secure World Foundation.

“Today no worldwide disaster-notification protocol of any kind exists. The closest analogy might be the cooperative early-warning system developed for tsunamis in the wake of the devastating inundation of the coasts of Southeast Asia in 2004,” the report states. It is being presented this week to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space during a conference in Vienna. [Natural Disasters: Top 10 U.S. Threats] Read the rest of this entry »

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