Monday, July 2, 2012

20-inch Space Telescope to Search for Dangerous Asteroids

B612 Debuts Its Asteroid-Seeking Sentinel

A private nonprofit group led by former astronauts, spacecraft designers, and asteroid specialists has proposed a spacecraft to find a half million asteroids in Earth-crossing orbits and provide advance warning of impact threats.

It seems like just weeks ago that a high-profile group of space entrepreneurs announced plans to track down vast numbers of asteroids in Earth's vicinity. (Oh, wait: it was!)

Sentinel spacecraft in orbit
If private funding can be found, the B612 Foundation plans to launch its Sentinel spacecraft in 2017 to scan for near-Earth asteroids from a Venus-like orbit around the Sun. Click on the image for a larger view.
B612 Foundation / Ball Aerospace
Now a second group hopes to blaze its own interplanetary trail in search of near-Earth objects (NEOs). Yesterday the B612 Foundation released details of a spacecraft called Sentinel, which could be launched as early as 2017. Its objective is to find and track a half million asteroids in Earth's vicinity, sweeping up 90% of those with diameters of at least 450 feet (140 m) over its 5½-year mission.


Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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