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"Radar Love: Asteroid Detection and Science"
While traditional astronomy and Near Earth Object detection has relied on optical telescopes, radar astronomy is proving valuable in its ability to determine the varied shapes and densities of NEOs. According to Dr. Steve Ostro of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: “With radar astronomy, the sky at high noon is just as inviting as that at midnight, and without launching a full-blown space mission we can actually get valuable information about the physical makeup of these objects."
SpaceDaily December 21, 2006
"Study Finds That A Single Impact Killed The Dinosaurs"
While many scientists have argued that a single impact could not have caused the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, a new study provides compelling evidence that “one and only one impact” was indeed the cause. “The samples we found strongly support the single impact hypothesis,” said Ken MacLeod, associate professor of geological sciences and lead investigator of the study.
SpaceDaily November 30, 2006
"KW4 Not A Threat To Earth At Least For A Thousand Years"
Observations by Dr. Steve Ostro, senior research scientist at the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Dr. Jean-Luc Margot, assistant professor of astronomy at Cornell University, have concluded that asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4 will not intersect Earth’s path for at least 1,000 years.
SpaceDaily November 16, 2006
"Zero Chance Of Asteroid Hitting Earth In 2029 Says Russian Astronomer"
Russia’s top astronomer has issued a statement that the possibility of Apophis colliding with Earth in 2029 is zero. Apophis, discovered in mid-2004, caused a brief period of alarm when scientists calculated that there was as much as a 1 in 37 probability of it colliding with Earth. The recent analysis determined that Apophis will fly past Earth at a distance of 38,000 to 40,000 km.
SpaceDaily November 3, 2006
"Russia Can Repel Asteroids To Save Earth"
The deputy head of the Russian space agency, Viktor Remishevsky, declared that Russia is prepared to repel asteroids to save Earth. “If necessary, Russia’s rocket-manufacturing complex can create the means in space to repulse asteroids threatening Earth,” Remishevsky said, without giving further details. According to Russia’s Institute of Applied Astronomy, about 400 asteroids and over 30 comets currently present a potential threat to the planet.
SpaceDaily October 24, 2006
"Russian Scientists Warn Of Asteroid Impact Hazard in 2035"
Astronomers at Russia’s largest observatory have declared that an asteroid now orbiting the sun may strike the Earth in 2035, but that the odds of a catastrophic collision can be estimated only 22 years from now. The space rock in question, measuring approximately a kilometer in diameter, is set to approach the Earth in 2028; flying in close proximity to the Earth will alter the asteroid’s orbit, which will provide scientists data as to the likelihood of future impacts.
SpaceDaily October 20, 2006
"TPS Calls for Proposals To Save The World"
The Planetary Society has issued a new call for grant proposals for its Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grant Program. Begun in 1997, the program aids the global effort to discovering 90% of near earth objects 1 kilometer and larger, and has provided more than $150,000 to observers around the world. The application deadline is October 18, 2006.
SpaceDaily August 3, 2006
"Small Asteroid Flies By Earth"
An asteroid hurtling through space came within a hair’s breadth in astronomical terms, at least of crashing into the Earth, US scientists said. Apollo Asteroid 2004 XP14 passed 268,873 miles from the Earth at 0425 GMT on Monday, July 3; this distance is slightly greater than the moon’s orbit.
SpaceDaily July 4, 2006
"Possible Extinction Crater Found Under Antarctica"
Scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one thought to have killed the dinosaurs. The 300-mile-wide crater lies more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and measurements suggest it could date back about 250 million years ago, to the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction when almost all animal life on Earth died out.
SpaceDaily June 3, 2006
"NASA Employs Hubble To Reassure About Comet 73P"
NASA has determined that there is no danger that comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 or any of its many fragments will strike Earth during its closest approach next month. To provide further reassurance, the agency has employed the Hubble Space Telescope to take high-resolution images of the approaching object, and will soon follow suit with Spitzer to observe the fragments in infrared light. None of the comet’s fragments will come closer than 5.5 million miles, or more than 20 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, during its closest approaches between May 12 and 28.
SpaceDaily April 27, 2006
"Deflecting Asteroids Difficult But Possible"
Over the last few decades there has been a great deal of debate about the level of danger posed by impacts from asteroids and comets, but it appears the world needs to take the threat of asteroid strikes a lot more seriously. While the chances of a major asteroid impact in this century are a mere 0.0002 percent, there is a 2 percent probability of Earth colliding with a 100 meter asteroid before the year 2100. A blast from such an asteroid would kill millions of people if it hit a populous industrial region harboring many hazardous enterprises.
SpaceDaily April 23, 2006
"ESA Awards Contracts For Don Quijote Asteroid Impact Mission Designs"
The European Space Agency has awarded contracts to three industrial teams to carry out initial design studies for the agency’s proposed mission to attempt to deflect the path of an asteroid. Scheduled for launch in 2011, the mission includes a primary spacecraft that will approach a pre-selected asteroid, and an impactor, which will be flung at the target asteroid to observe the consequences of collision.
SpaceDaily April 3, 2006
"Largest Impact Crater In The Sahara Discovered"
Researchers have discovered the remnants of a large crater in the Great Sahara of North Africa. This double-ringed crater is approximately 31 kilometers (or 19.8 miles) in diameter, and may have been formed by an impact object 1.2 kilometers (3/4-mile) wide. This potential impact event could prove to be responsible for the extensive field of desert glass yellow-green silica glass fragments found on the desert surface between the giant dunes of the Great Sand Sea in southwestern Egypt.
SpaceDaily March 5, 2006
"2102 Space Rock To Give Earth Its Closest Shave"
A 500 meter long asteroid currently has a one in 1,000 risk of colliding with Earth on May 4, 2102. According to NASA Near-Earth Object expert David Morrison, “The risk of an impact within the next century is higher than that of any other known asteroid. Fortunately, it is nearly a century before the close pass. This should provide ample time to refine the orbit and, most probably, determine that the asteroid will miss Earth.”
SpaceDaily March 2, 2006
"Engineers Compete To Find Best Trajectory To Intercept An Asteroid"
The European Space Agency recently launched a competition to find the intercept trajectory that would deliver the most energy on impact to asteroid 2001 TW229. While Asteroid 2001 TW229 presents no danger to Earth, this competition seeks to stimulate the research needed to deflect a potentially dangerous asteroid. A team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, won the competition; all twelve teams that competed are meeting in the Netherlands to discuss their individual approaches to the problem.
SpaceDaily February 2, 2006
"Astronauts Float Gravity Plan to Deflect Earth-Threatening Asteroids"
According to two NASA astronauts writing in the science journal Nature, dangerous earth-bound asteroids could be tugged out of harm’s way by spacecraft using gravity as a towline. Their proposal’s advantage is that docking is not required; asteroids are “likely to be rough and unconsolidated, making stable attachment difficult.”
SpaceDaily November 9, 2005
"Deflecting Asteroids Could Lead To More Versatile Spaceprobes"
The UK’s first engineering feasibility study into missions for deflecting asteroids has begun. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is funding a new three-year study into interception and deflection strategies for asteroids found to be on a collision course with Earth. According to Dr. Gianmarco Radice, department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow, “One of the main objectives of this study is to try to associate a particular deflection strategy with a particular type of asteroid that has to be deviated.”
SpaceDaily September 28, 2005
"ESA Selects Targets For Asteroid-Deflecting Mission Don Quijote"
Based on the recommendations of asteroid experts, the European Space Agency (ESA) has selected two target asteroids for its Near-Earth Object deflecting mission, Don Quijote. Earlier this year, a panel consisting of well-known experts in the field delivered to ESA a target selection report for Europe’s future asteroid mitigation missions, identifying the relevant criteria for selecting a target and picking up two objects that meet most of those criteria. The selected asteroids’ temporary designations are 2002 AT4 and 1989 ML.
SpaceDaily September 27, 2005
"Comet Collision ‘ Armageddon’ Unlikely"
According to new research, the chances of the Earth being hit by a comet from beyond Pluto a la Armageddon are much lower than previously thought. Using computer simulations and data from an American military telescope, Dr. Paul Francis has found that there are seven times fewer comets in our solar system than previously thought.
SpaceDaily August 19, 2005
"Planetary Society Funds Search for Potentially Dangerous Near Earth Objects"
The Planetary Society has announced the winners of the 2005 Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants. The grants are awarded to amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and professional astronomers who, with seed funding, can greatly increase their programs’ contributions to the study and search for potentially hazardous comets and asteroids.
SpaceDaily August 19, 2005
"Asteroid’s Near-Miss May Be Home Run For Scientists"
In 2029, an asteroid’s near-miss with Earth will provide scientists the opportunity to observe how Earth’s gravity will disrupt a massive asteroid’s spin. Only about three Earth diameters will separate the asteroid and Earth when the 400-meter asteroid hurtles by Earth’s gravity, which will twist the object into a complex wobbling rotation. Such an occurrence has never been witnessed but could yield important clues to the interior of the sphere.
SpaceDaily August 17, 2005
"Deep Impact Mission Could Help Earth's Defence Against Space Rocks"
The NASA probe Deep Impact, scheduled to collide with comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, may indirectly provide a windfall for scientists working on NEOs preparedness. Little is known about the content of most asteroids and comets, making plans to deflect NEOs with dangerous trajectories difficult. The Deep Impact mission could yield precious data.
SpaceDaily June 30, 2005
"Revised Asteroid Scale Aids Understanding Of Impact Risk"
Astronomers have revised the scale used to assess the threat of asteroids and comets colliding with Earth to better communicate those risks with the public. The goal of the revision is to provide easy-to-understand information to assuage concerns about a potential doomsday collision with our planet.
Science Daily April 19, 2005
"Mystery Minerals Formed In Fireball From Colliding Asteroid That Destroyed The Dinosaurs"
Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago have explained how a global residue formed in the aftermath of the asteroid impact that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Published in the April issue of Geology, the study draws the most detailed picture yet of the complicated chemistry of the fireball produced in the impact.
Science Daily April 6, 2005
"Radar Observations Refine The Future Motion of Asteroid 2004 MN4"
Radar observations taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in late January, 2005, have significantly improved our estimate for the orbit of asteroid 2004 MN4. The observations have changed the circumstances of the asteroid's close approach of Earth in 2029. The new predicted trajectory now passes within 22,600 miles of Earth's center, or just below the altitude of geosynchronous Earth satellites. An Earth impact in 2029 is still ruled out.
SpaceDaily February 7, 2005
"Near-Earth Asteroid MN4 Reaches Highest Score To Date On Hazard Scale"
On April 13, 2029, a recently rediscovered 400-meter Near-Earth Asteroid is predicted to pass within twice the distance of the moon. While the flyby distance is still an unconfirmed estimate, and an Earth impact cannot yet be ruled out, the odds of impact, presently around 1 in 300, are unusual enough to merit special monitoring by astronomers. Astronomers stress, however, that there is no cause for public attention or concern as an actual collision is unlikely.
SpaceDaily December 23, 2004
"Shiva: Another K-T Impact?"
While the 180 kilometer-wide Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico, is usually identified as the culprit for the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction 65 million years ago, Sankar Chatterjee, a paleontologist at Texas Tech University, believes the K-T extinction was a multiple-impact scenario. One of the craters he believes provides evidence to support his theory is the Shiva crater, a large, underwater crater off of the coast of India.
SpaceDaily November 4, 2004
"UK Astronomers Scan The Skies For Threat From Space"
Beginning October 2004, British astronomers at Queen's University Belfast will join the world-wide effort of identifying and monitoring NEOs. Using the Faulkes Telescope North, a robotic telescope on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the British team will track NEOs each week, transferring this data to an astronomical computer network in Northern Ireland.
SpaceDaily October 14, 2004
"Scientists Say Comet Smashed Into Southern Germany"
According to a report in Astronomy, a comet or asteroid smashed into modern-day Germany some 2,200 years ago. Colliding with the Earth's atmosphere at more than 43,000 kilometers per hour, the estimated 1.1 kilometer diameter rock impacted southeastern Bavaria with a force equivalent to 106 million tons of TNT.
SpaceDaily October 15, 2004
"By Toutatis! Monster Asteroid Flyby Excites Doomsters, Skygazers"
On Wednesday, September 29, Earth had its closest known shave this century from Toutatis, an asteroid big enough to extinguish billions of lives were it ever to collide with our planet. This article, which previewed the flyby, discusses the increasingly successful effort to spot such threats and calculate their future orbits. It further notes that we know the risk from this particular asteroid is zero and will remain so for several centuries.
SpaceDaily September 26, 2004
"Asteroid Fragments On A Fast Collision Course"
Over a million large asteroids orbit the sun in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, and sometimes there are violent collisions. Until now, it has been thought that fragments from such collisions would need several million years to reach Earth. New measurements from the Noble Gas Laboratory of ETH Zurich show, however, that it could take just a few hundred thousand years for such an object to collide with our planet.
SpaceDaily July 19, 2004
"ESA Considers The Next Step In Assessing The Risk From Near-Earth Objects"
On July 9, 2004, the Near-Earth Object Mission Advisory Panel recommended that the European Space Agency place a high priority on developing a mission to actually move an asteroid. The conclusion was based on the panel's consideration of six near-Earth object mission studies submitted to the Agency in February 2003, all of which addressed the growing realization of the threat posed by NEOs.
Science Daily July 14, 2004
"Dark Days Doomed Dinosaurs, Say Purdue Scientists"
Though the catastrophe that destroyed the dinosaurs' world may have begun with blazing fire, it probably ended with icy darkness, according to a Purdue University research group. By analyzing fossil records, a team of scientists has found evidence that the Earth underwent a sudden cooling 65 million years ago that may have taken millennia to abate completely.
SpaceDaily June 24, 2004
"Meteorite Turned Earth Inside Out"
Researchers from the University of Toronto and the Geological Survey of Canada have determined that a meteorite collision caused part of the Earth's crust to flip inside out billions of years ago and left a dusting of a rare metal scattered on the top of the crater. The study, published in the June 3, 2004, issue of Nature, examines the devastating effects of meteorite impacts on the Earth's evolution.
SpaceDaily June 4, 2004
"Dinosaurs Died Within Hours After Asteroid Hit Earth"
According to new research led by a University of Colorado at Boulder geophysicist, the giant asteroid that hit the coast of Mexico 65 million years ago probably incinerated all the large dinosaurs that were alive at the time in only a few hours. The six-mile wide asteroid is thought to have hit Chicxulub in the Yucatan, striking with the energy of 100 million megatons of TNT. The "heat pulse" caused by re-entering ejected matter would have reached around the globe, igniting fires and burning up all terrestrial organisms not sheltered in burrows or in water.
SpaceDaily May 26, 2004
"LONEOS Discovers Asteroid With The Smallest Orbit"
The Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS) detected an asteroid with the smallest orbit on the evening of May 10, 2004. Designated 2004 JG6, this object orbits entirely within Earth's orbit, only the second object so far found to do so. Its solar orbit of just six months makes it the asteroid with the shortest known orbital period.
SpaceDaily May 24, 2004
"Impact At Bedout: "Smoking Gun" Of Giant Collision That Nearly Ended Life on Earth Is Identified"
Evidence is mounting that 251 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs dominated the Earth, a meteor the size of Mount Everest smashed into what is now northern Australia, triggering mass volcanic eruptions and wiping gout all but ten percent of the species on the planet. A new paper published in Science claims to identify the crater made by that meteor, and builds upon an ongoing body of evidence by researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of California at Santa Barbara for an extraterrestrial cause to the mass extinction event.
Science Daily May 14, 2004
"Earth Impact Effects Program"
University of Arizona scientists are launching an easy-to-use, web-based program that will tell the user in the event of an asteroid or comet collision, how the collision will affect your spot on the globe. The web site is valuable for scientists because they don't have to spend time digging up the equations and data needed to calculate such impact effects.
SpaceDaily April 8, 2004
"Astronomers Take Search for Earth-Threatening Space Rocks To Southern Skies"
Using a refurbished telescope at the Australian National University's Siding Spring Observatory, astronomers discovered their first two near-Earth asteroids on March 29, 2004. While the search for these objects has historically been limited to the Northern Hemisphere, this new survey will operate 20 nights a month from Australia. Funded by NASA's Near-Earth Object Observation Program, this project is a joint collaboration between the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Australian National University School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
SpaceDaily April 7, 2004
"Scientists earnestly discuss protecting Earth from asteroids"
A group of 120 scientists attended a four-day planetary defense conference held in Orange County, California, where they discussed ways of aggressively defending our planet from the threat of asteroid collisions. Scientists in the group have proposed a variety of strategies to nudge an asteroid off course, including lasers, mirrors, and atomic weapons launched from Earth.
The Mercury News February 24, 2004
"Astronomers Unravel A Mystery Of The Dark Ages: Undergraduates' Work Blames Comet For 6th-century 'Nuclear Winter'"
A team of scientists from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom believe they have discovered the cause of catastrophic crop failures and summer frosts some 1,500 years ago a comet colliding with Earth and exploding in the upper atmosphere. The surprising result of this new research is how small a comet is needed to cause such effects. The scientists calculate that a comet not much more than half a kilometer across could duplicate such a "nuclear winter," which is significantly smaller than was previously thought.
Science Daily February 4, 2004
"Double Impact Crater Site Found In Libya Using JERS-1 Data"
Using archived data from JERS-1, a Japanese satellite operated from 1990-1998, a team of international scientists has located a double impact crater in Libya. Measurements taken at the site suggest a pair of 500-meter diameter asteroids caused the crater.
SpaceDaily December 18, 2003
"NASA Scientists Use Radar To Detect Asteroid Force"
For the first time, NASA scientists have detected a tiny but theoretically important force acting on asteroids. This force, called the Yarkovsky Effect, is produced by the way an asteroid absorbs energy from the sun and re-radiates it into space. This research will affect how scientists understand and track asteroids in the future.
SpaceDaily December 8, 2003
"Greatest Extinction Probably Caused By Meteorite Or Comet Impact"
A team of researchers at the University of Rochester has linked the largest known mass extinction, the Permian extinction, to a meteor impact. This mass extinction, which occurred approximately 250 million years ago, was so severe that 90 percent of life on Earth died.
SpaceDaily November 24, 2003
"Worried asteroid-watchers wrangle over alert system"
Many asteroid-watchers are wrangling over whether the current asteroid early-warning system unnecessarily causes public panic.
SpaceDaily October 28, 2003
"Orbit for Hermes Dynamically Linked from 1937 to 2003"
Due to the collaboration of two asteroid detection groups and the Minor Planet Center, the difficult problem of finding a precise orbit for the long-lost and recently rediscovered asteroid Hermes has been solved.
SpaceDaily October 16, 2003
"MIT Reassess Asteroid Hazards"
MIT Lincoln Laboratory researcher J. Scott Stuart reported at the 35th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences that of the approximately 1,000 near-Earth asteroids larger than one kilometer, one strikes the Earth on average once every 600,000 years. Stuart also determined that impacts similar to the Tunguska event are much less frequent than previously thought.
SpaceDaily September 11, 2003
"NASA Releases Near-Earth Object Search Report"
While the search for large near-Earth objects (NEOs) is on schedule to be completed, NASA has released a technical report on potential future search efforts for NEOs less than one kilometer in size. While impacts by these smaller objects would not be expected to cause global devastation, impacts on land and the tsunamis resulting from ocean impacts could cause massive regional damage and still pose a significant long-term hazard. NASA considers the findings to be preliminary, and a much more in-depth program definition, refining objectives and estimating costs, would need to be conducted prior to any decision to continue Spaceguard projects beyond the current effort.
SpaceDaily September 11, 2003
"Asteroid Doomsday 'Risk' Evaporates after Media Fans Flames"
A newly discovered asteroid that generated doomsday headlines around the world has been reduced to innocuous status. A handful of similar scares about one per year have evaporated in similar fashion as professional astronomers go about their business of finding and tracking potentially dangerous asteroids.
Space.com September 3, 2003
"Fewer Earthbound Asteroids Will Hit Home; Scientists Say Pancake Model Of Asteroid Impact Won't Stick"
Researchers from Imperial College London and the Russian Academy of Sciences reported in the July 17, 2003, issue of Nature that significantly fewer asteroids could hit the Earth's surface than previously reckoned. Based on their research, asteroids with a diameter less than a kilometer have a greater chance to blow up in the atmosphere than hit the Earth, which means the hazard posed by impact-generated tidal waves or tsunamis is lower than previous predictions.
Science Daily July 23, 2003
"Asteroid Hunters Discover Near-Earth Object with New Camera"
NASA astronomers in pursuit of near-Earth asteroids have already made a discovery with the newly installed Quasar Equatorial Survey, or "Quest," camera mounted in mid-April on Palomar Mountain's 1.2-meter Oschin telescope. The newly detected near-Earth object, 2003 NL7, is estimated to be about 250 meters (820 feet) in size. While 2003 NL7 has been labeled a near-Earth asteroid, it is considered non-hazardous, with a 2.97-year orbit of the Sun in which its closest approach to Earth's orbit is approximately 25.1 million kilometers (15.6 million miles).
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory July 15, 2003
"Evidence For Meteor In Early Mass Extinction Found"
Louisiana State University geophysicist Brooks Ellwood and four other researchers have published an article in the journal Science in which they tie a mass extinction that occurred 380 million years ago to a meteor strike. Geologists have known about the extinction for a long time, but this is the first time it has been tied to a meteor strike. This is also the oldest known impact that has been tied to a mass extinction.
SpaceDaily June 18, 2003
"Massive Tsunami Sweeps Atlantic Coast In Asteroid Impact Scenario For March 16, 2880"
While the probability of a direct hit is small, March 16, 2880, is the day asteroid 1950 DA, a huge rock two-thirds of a mile in diameter, is due to swing so close to Earth it could slam into the Atlantic Ocean. A computer simulation of such an event shows waves as high as 400 feet sweeping onto the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
Science Daily May 28, 2003
"Worried About Asteroid-Ocean Impacts? Don't Sweat The Small Stuff"
According both to a recently released 1968 U.S. Naval Research report on explosion-generated tsunamis and terrestrial evidence, asteroids smaller than a kilometer in diameter will not generate catastrophic tsunamis. This could save taxpayers the cost of financing searches for small Earth-approaching asteroids, a savings of billions of dollars.
SpaceDaily March 19, 2003
"More Focused Programs To Assess And Reduce Asteroid Threat Needed"
According to the final report of a workshop on the scientific requirements for the mitigation of hazardous comets and asteroids, NASA should be assigned to lead a new research program to better determine the population and physical diversity of near-Earth objects that may collide with our planet. The report also concludes that governmental policy makers must "formulate a chain of responsibility" to be better prepared in the event that a threat to Earth becomes know.
SpaceDaily February 5, 2003
"Kuiper Prize Going to JPL Pioneer in Radar Study of Asteroids"
Dr. Steven Ostro of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will receive the prestigious Gerard P. Kuiper Prize from the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences for his years of research demonstrating the power of radar techniques to collect information from near-Earth asteroids. Ostro will be the 20th recipient of this award, joining other honorees such as Carl Sagan, James Van Allen and Eugene Shoemaker.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory December 3, 2002
"University of Hawaii Astronomers to Develop New Telescopes for "Killer Asteroid" Search"
Astronomers at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy have been awarded a $3.4 million grant to design a new observatory to survey the entire sky and detect very faint objects. Planned to become operational in 2006, the new observatory will be more powerful for survey work than all existing telescopes combined. A major goal of the project is to identify and track asteroids that might collide with Earth.
University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy October 8, 2002
"Small Asteroid Impacts Less Than Expected"
Dr. Alan W. Harris of the Space Science Institute in Boulder Colorado has made new estimates of the likelihood of a smaller asteroid (in the 200-meter diameter range and smaller) impacting the Earth. If correct, his estimates mean that there is a much lower risk from these asteroids than previously thought.
Solar System Exploration October 7, 2002
"Better asteroid detection needed, experts tell House panel"
On October 3, 2002, experts from NASA, the Air Force and the National Academy of Sciences reported to the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics that the threat from asteroids, while extremely remote, needs to be taken seriously. Spending money to find possibly dangerous asteroids is "like fire insurance on your home. You don't expect a fire, but you buy insurance even for an unlikely event," reported David Morrison, an asteroid specialist at NASA's Ames Research Center. For more information, including witness statements and a web re-broadcast, please see the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Hearings homepage.
SiliconValley.com October 3, 2002
"Science Workshop Reveals Evolving Perspective on Asteroid Threat"
Direct measurements of the surface properties and interior structures of asteroids and comets should be fundamental elements of future spacecraft missions, according to participants in a scientific workshop held from September 3-6, 2002. Such information is vitally important for preparing a variety of approaches for the diversion of Near-Earth Objects that may someday threaten Earth.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory September 6, 2002
"Look at that Asteroid"
On August 18, 2002, a large asteroid will come so close to Earth that sky watchers can see it through binoculars. According to Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "flybys like this happen every 50 years or so." The flyby will be visible mostly from the northern hemisphere. North Americans can see it best after sunset on August 17. For maps to locate the asteroid, please see the NASA release.
Science @ NASA July 30, 2002
"True Tally of Asteroids Probably at High End of Estimates"
The continued rapid pace of discovery for large asteroids in relatively close proximity to Earth suggests there may be more of them than initially estimated. The speculation, from Brian Marsdon, Director of the Minor Planet Center, does not imply a significantly increased threat to Earth, but it does extend a long-running debate over just how many of these space rocks exist.
Space.com July 23, 2002
"Asteroid 2002MN gives Earth a close shave"
On Friday, June 14, asteroid 2002MN made one of the closest ever recorded approaches to Earth, bringing it well within the Moon's orbit. Astronomers working on the LINEAR search program in New Mexico detected it three days after its close approach.
Near Earth Objects Information Centre June 19, 2002
"Pete Conrad Act Tied to Threatening Asteroids"
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California introduced the Charles Pete Conrad Astronomy Award Act on April 25, in honor of the late veteran astronaut who flew Gemini, Skylab, and Apollo missions. The act calls for the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institute to establish an awards program that is intended to encourage amateur astronomers to discover new heavenly bodies and keep an eye on previously identified objects, particularly those that threaten a close approach to the Earth.
Space.com April 30, 2002
"UK asteroid centre opens"
The BBC News announced the United Kingdom's first government-backed center to provide public information on asteroids and other near-Earth objects, which opened on April 20, 2002. The center will provide information to the public on the nature, number and location of near-Earth objects, what might happen if one hit Earth and how likely this is.
BBC News April 18, 2002
"European Space Agency to probe asteroid blind spot"
This article is about the European Space Agency's plan to launch the Gaia spacecraft in 2010 to track and study the asteroids that could be lurking in the "blind spot" between the Sun and Earth. Earth-bound telescopes cannot see into this blind spot, but Gaia should be able to see clearly into this area of space.
European Space Agency April 12, 2002
"Asteroids Often Travel, and Strike, in Pairs"
A new study published in the journal Science estimates that 16 percent of asteroids that roam the region of space shared by Earth's orbit are actually double asteroids, called binaries. While binaries are not a new discovery, this is the first study to strongly link asteroid pairs with the potential for terrestrial impacts.
Space.com April 11, 2002
"A last wave goodbye"
In this article, Duncan Steel at the University of Salford explains why an asteroid impact in the ocean could actually be more devastating than a terrestrial impact.
Guardian Unlimited April 11, 2002
"Encounter With an Asteroid"
Asteroid 1950 DA, a kilometer-wide chunk of rock, has a 1-in-300 chance of smashing into the Earth. This potential impact, however, won't occur for another eight centuries, giving our descendents plenty of time to prepare.
New York Times April 8, 2002
"New study reveals twice as many asteroids as previously believed"
According to the first systematic search for asteroids performed in the infrared with the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), such objects in our Solar System may be more numerous than previously thought. The ISO Deep Asteroid Search indicates that there are between 1.1 million and 1.9 million "space rocks" larger than 1 kilometer in diameter in the so-called "main asteroid belt," about twice as many as previously believed.
European Space Agency April 5, 2002
"Asteroid on possible collision course, in 900 years"
An asteroid recently rediscovered after a 50-year absence could be on a collision course with Earth, NASA astronomers reported. But the planet has 877 years and 11 months to prepare for the potential catastrophe.
Cable News Network April 5, 2002
"Hitchhiker's Guide to an Asteroid"
Learning what near-Earth asteroids are made of and how they're put together is simply prudent. NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecraft did just that when it landed on asteroid 433 Eros in 2001.
Science @ NASA April 5, 2002
"Why We Fear Ourselves More than Asteroids"
In the past six months, while the world focused on the continuing threat of global terrorism, as many as a dozen or more asteroids sneaked up on the Earth and zoomed by at distances just beyond the Moon's orbit and closer. While the chances of death by an asteroid are equivalent to a plane crash (1-in-20,000 in your lifetime), there isn't enough "dread factor" associated with asteroids for the public to take notice.
Space.com March 26, 2002
"Asteroid buzzes Earth from 'blind spot'"
One of the largest asteroids known to have approached the Earth zipped past about 450,000 kilometers away on March 8 but nobody recorded it until four days later. The object, now called 2002 EM7, was hard to spot because it was moving towards the Earth from our "blind spot," the section of space between the Earth and the Sun that astronomers cannot see into.
NewScientist.com March 15, 2002
"Space rock hurtles past Earth"
A potentially hazardous asteroid was discovered in early December of 2001 by the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) survey telescope observing from Mount Palomar in California. Although there is no danger of collision with it (it missed the Earth by about 830,00 kilometers), astronomers say that its proximity reminds us just how many objects there are in space that could strike our planet with devastating consequences.
BBC News January 7, 2002