Thursday, November 15, 2012

DARPA Asks Amateur Astronomers to Track Space Junk

US Military Enlists Amateurs to Track Space Junk

Date: 14 November 2012 Time: 11:32 AM ET
Artist's Depiction from "Space Junk 3D"
An artist's depiction of the growing space junk problem in Earth orbit from the film "Space Junk 3D." The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has created SpaceView, a program calling for amateur astronomers to help protect American space assets from orbital junk.
CREDIT: Melrae Pictures/Space Junk 3D

The U.S. military is launching a far-out neighborhood watch. But instead of warding off burglars, these  amateur watchdogs are tracking orbital debris and possible satellite collisions in Earth orbit.

The sky-monitoring project, called SpaceView, is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program that enrolls the talents of amateur astronomers to help protect American space assets from orbital trash.

The vision behind the DARPA SpaceView program is to provide more diverse data to the Space Surveillance Network, a U.S. Air Force program charged with cataloguing and observing space junk and debris to identify potential near-term collisions. NASA estimates more than 500,000 pieces of hazardous space debris orbit the Earth, threatening satellites that support peacekeeping and combat missions.

Home astronomers will be given access to "high-quality astronomical hardware," and in return would handle the operation and housing of the gear. When it's not being used for tracking bits of fast-moving space trash, the government gear could be used for whatever its caretaker wanted: photography, observation, or teaching, for example.

More - Link >>>

DARPA SPACEVIEW Web Site: Link >>>

Sources: DARPA, , NBC News.

Other Citizen Science Projects:
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Related Blog Post --

DARPA Telescope to Track Space Junk From Australia (2012 Nov. 16):

Link >>> 


Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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