Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope

By | June 22, 2012

The nonprofit B612 Foundation says it’s planning the first privately funded deep-space mission, with the goal of launching an instrument known as the Sentinel Space Telescope to look for potentially hazardous asteroids from a vantage point inside Earth’s orbit around the sun.

The foundation, headed by former NASA astronaut Ed Lu, tipped its hand today in an advisory alerting journalists about a press conference to be conducted at 8:30 a.m. PT June 28 at the California Academy of Science’ Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco.

“We will create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system showing the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth-crossing asteroids, paving the way to protect the Earth from future impacts and opening up the solar system to future exploration,” the advisory read.

Scheduled speakers include Lu as well as the foundation’s chairman emeritus, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart; project architect Scott Hubbard, a Stanford professor who once served as NASA’s Mars czar; and mission director Harold Reitsema, former director of space science missions at Ball Aerospace.

A spokeswoman for the B612 Foundation, Diane Murphy, told me that the advisory was the only information being made public in advance of the press conference. That means it could be more than a week before we get formal word about the projected cost of the mission, its financial backers, projected launch date or other key details. However, the concept for the Sentinel Space Telescope has been percolating among asteroid-watchers and activists for years — providing an advance glimpse at what the project would entail. …

The B612 Foundation was established almost a decade ago to call attention to the potentially catastrophic threats posed by near-Earth objects. For example, an asteroid strike is thought to have led to the dinosaurs’ demise 65 million years ago, and as recently as 1908, a much smaller cosmic impact wiped out half a million acres of Siberian forest.

A comprehensive catalog of potentially threatening asteroids could provide more advance warning of potential threats, giving humanity more time to do something about them. …

NASA has made good progress in cataloging most of the large asteroids that could pose a world-ending threat, thanks to ground-based observations as well as space missions such as the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Last year, the WISE mission’s science team estimated that more than 90 percent of the near-Earth asteroids wider than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) had been found. However, scientists figure that so far they’ve been able to track less than a third of the near-Earth asteroids between 100 meters and a kilometer in width. Such asteroids could destroy a city or cause a “cosmic Katrina” if they hit just the wrong place.

Two Earth-crossing asteroids, 2005 YU55 and 2012 LZ1, sparked headlines in the past year when they made close encounters, and an other asteroids are due to come even closer in the years ahead. The most worrisome space rocks are those that spend much of their time interior to Earth’s orbit, where they can get lost in the sun’s glare. For that reason, the Sentinel mission’s planners want to put their telescope in a place where it can look out toward Earth, with the sun behind it. …

via Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope – Cosmic Log.

Save the Earth! We should not be fighting little wars for oil, we need to unite, to put our world wide combined intelligence and resources toward surviving the next planet killing asteroid.  We are a sitting duck, pretty much defenseless against any aliens that would steer a large asteroid at us.   Remember the warning shot they fired at Jupiter?

“The new Jupiter impact occurred on the anniversaries of the Apollo moon landing AND the Shoemaker Levy comet impact. … 40th anniversary of moon landing, to the day. … 15th anniversary of the Shoemaker-Levy impact, to the day. ” – glp

And what about Radivoje Lajic, whose house has been hit with meteorites six different times so far by aliens ? The message is clear, their aim is perfect and nothing we have yet could protect us.

The near-Earth asteroid 2011 AG5 currently has an impact probability of 1 in 625 for Feb. 5, 2040, said Donald Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

This impact probability isn’t set in stone, however. So far, researchers have been able to watch the asteroid for just a short time — the first nine months of 2011 — and the numbers may change after further observation, Yeomans told

One in 625 odds sound pretty good, until I consider that the odds of my fiance and I picking each other’s Tarot cards was 1 in 6,084, and that just happened.  Gulp.

It is estimated that an impact would produce the equivalent of 100 megatons of TNT,[3] roughly twice that of the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated (Tsar Bomba).  – wikipedia





2 thoughts on “Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope

  1. Fred Killer

    I say we quit wasting money and technology by shooting it into space and concentrate on feeding the millions of starving Americans that you’re going to have soon if you don’t stop wasting money and technology by shooting it into space…….

    Besides, for 65 million years and counting, Jupiter has sucked up every G.K. out there so the odds are greater that we would only upset the apple cart and could end up inadvertently sending an asteroid into our planet that otherwise, so far at least, would have missed us.

    What are the odds that we will be hit with another Chicalub any time soon? Are we somehow overdue one? Is there an exact, regular 65 million year cycle that just came round? Even so, there would be a few centuries margin of error, surely?

    Tokyo, in contrast, is well overdue a major earthquake and sits just inside a huge fault line in the bay. It is also radioactive now from the ongoing Fukashima ‘incident’.

    Our own misguided nuclear technology has done more environmental (and genetic) damage than several global killing asteroids already. We just haven’t realised it yet.

    1. Xeno Post author

      Perhaps we don’t have to choose between either millions starving or everyone dying in one big cataclysm. Protecting our world will give everyone a job to do, if we all get behind it.

      Shooting our money into space, as you put it, is just sensible preparedness. Logically: Would you rather feed everyone the seeds you have right now, or plant some of those seeds to grow more food? Only long term planning will see us through.

      Ignoring a real threat and hoping or praying it never happens is a recipe for extinction. Jupiter didn’t save the dinosaurs.

      Nothing we’ve done done in human history could hold a candle to an instant planetary extinction via collision with a mile-wide asteroid moving at 30,000 mph. With the energy of a 1 million megaton bomb it could kill every living thing on earth. If we can spot it and divert it, we must.

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