Using Tethers to Protect Earth from Asteroid Impacts

These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

NEW YORK (Springer PR) — Our planet exists within the vicinity of thousands of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), some of which — Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) — carry the risk of impacting Earth causing major damage to infrastructure and loss of life. Methods to mitigate such a collision are highly desirable.


Asteroid’s Close Approach Demonstrates Need for More Eyes in the Sky

ESA observation of 2019OK through ISON network (Credit: S. Schmalz/ISON)

PARIS (ESA PR) — On 25 July, an asteroid the size of a football field flew by Earth, coming within 65 000 km of our planet’s surface during its closest approach – about one fifth of the distance to the Moon.

The 100 m-wide asteroid dubbed ‘2019 OK’ was detected just days before it passed Earth, although archival records from sky surveys show it had previously been observed but wasn’t recognised as a near-Earth asteroid.

While 2019 OK illustrates the need for even more eyes on the sky, it also provides an opportunity to improve the asteroid recognising abilities of current and future telescopes, including ESA’s upcoming ‘Flyeye‘.


Holiday Asteroid Imaged with NASA Radar

These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on Dec. 15-17, by coordinating observations with NASA’s 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The December 2018 close approach by the large, near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 has provided astronomers an outstanding opportunity to obtain detailed radar images of the surface and shape of the object and to improve the understanding of its orbit.

The asteroid will fly safely past Earth on Saturday, Dec. 22, at a distance of about 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers). This will be the asteroid’s closest approach in more than 400 years and the closest until 2070, when the asteroid will safely approach Earth slightly closer.


Space Politics: Obama, Clinton, Feeny, Soyuz and Congress

Some interesting on-going discussions over at….

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has picked up the endorsement of a major aerospace union, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

With a crucial Puerto Rico primary looming on June 1, Hillary Clinton is trying to save the Arecibo Observatory so it can continue to be used for radio astronomy and blown up in James Bond movies. (Probably more the former than the latter; what are the chances that a future Bond villain will launch another death star into orbit? Actually….pretty damn good, come to think of it.)

Down on Florida’s Space Coast, Republican Representative Tom Feeny and his Democratic challenger, Suzanne Kosmas, are fighting over who can best represent the region in Congress. What will the denizens of KSC decide?

Meanwhile, current members of Congress are fretting over the decision to retire the space shuttle in 2010 now that the Russian Soyuz has suffered its second Tower of Terror landing in a row. They don’t seem convinced by the Russian space chief Anatoly Perminov’s belief that we should simply limit the number of women aboard the space station. That’s definitely a sign of progress in at least one country….