Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NASA: Public 'Grand Challenge' to Find Asteroid Threats to Earth

June 18, 2013 — NASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them.

First radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2 were obtained when the asteroid was about 3.75 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Earth. The small white dot at lower right is the moon, or satellite, orbiting asteroid 1998 QE2. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)
The challenge, which was announced at an asteroid initiative industry and partner day at NASA Headquarters in Washington, is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with other government agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists. It complements NASA's recently announced mission to redirect an asteroid and send humans to study it.

Sources: NASA, .

NASA News Release -
"NASA Announces Asteroid Grand Challenge"

NASA also released a request for information (RFI) that invites industry and potential partners to offer ideas on accomplishing NASA's goal to locate, redirect, and explore an asteroid, as well as find and plan for asteroid threats. The RFI is open for 30 days, and responses will be used to help develop public engagement opportunities and a September industry workshop. 

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Source: NASA.

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NASA Seeks Private-Sector Posse to Hunt Asteroids

June 18, 2013
Forget sentient glasses and self-driving cars, “asteroid transportation” may be the hottest thing in engineering.

NASA summoned captains of industry to Washington this morning to pitch its plan to harness earth-bound asteroids with spacecraft. The briefing, along with a request for information from potential private-sector partners, is part of the government’s “enhanced focus on planetary defense.” In other words, the government needs help saving the world. NASA hopes to be able to snare a small asteroid by 2025. In addition to an Armageddon style rendezvous, the agency aims to double its capacity to spot potentially hazardous objects zipping through space, or in NASA terminology: “near-Earth objects.”

At any given time there are several dozen asteroids and comets for which “future earth impact cannot be ruled out,” according to the space agency. (To induce a light existential crisis, feel free to check the agency’s list of rogue space rocks.) “The average person is oblivious to the threat,” NASA Chief Charles Bolden told Bloomberg today. “Unlike other natural disasters, we can avert this. It allows us to avoid becoming like the dinosaurs.”

NASA already has its eyes on three potential asteroids—each about 10 meters wide—that are likely candidates for redirection.  Of NASA’s $18 billion proposed budget for 2014, it hopes to set aside $105 million for asteroid goaltending.

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Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek Magazine.

Related Blog Posts ---

Asteroid Moon Movie (2013 June 9):

Link >>>


Moon of Asteroid 1998 QE2 Found by NASA Radar (2013 May 31):

Link >>>


NASA Coverage: 1998 QE2 Asteroid Passes Earth Friday  (2013 May 30):

Link >>>


Congress Debates NASA Asteroid Mission--or Back to the Moon? (2013 May 23):

Link >>>


NASA Wants $100 Million To Catch An Asteroid  (2013 March 30):

Link >>> 

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