[T]the United Nations is forming an 'International Asteroid Warning Group,' on the advice of an association of former astronauts, to share data about threatening asteroids. In a set of forthcoming recommendations, the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) will loosely outline the emergency steps that the UN's longstanding Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space must take if the asteroid warning group identifies an extinction-level space rock on a collision course with Earth."
Today at 1:30 p.m., don't forget to tune into the livecast of the announcement by Planetary Resources about how rich people are going to blow up some space crap in the hunt for platinum and palladium. With the backing of the likes of Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google, this seems like a good time to get out of the Google system entirely, you know? We already gave them ownership of all our data, and the relationship between your Gmail and now the annexation of space for mining is seriously some Total Recall prologue. In fact basically all of the movies have warned us about what [...]
"These objects are difficult to find from Earth, simply because they're not very big and they're pretty faint, and they're close to the Sun as seen from Earth. But we can find them from space, and future satellites will likely find some more. We think that there are others which will be very close to the Earth and have motions that make them relatively easy to reach. So, they could be potential targets to go to with spacecraft." —Astronomer Christian Veillet, who works with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, on the discovery of 2010 TK7, a 300-meter-wide asteroid orbiting the sun alongside our planet "like a dog on a leash." [...]
"National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronomers are getting ready for asteroids and comets that could flyby near planet Earth this 2013. NASA's deep-space radars at Goldstone, California and Arecibo, Puerto Rico will reportedly monitor space on January 9 for a particular flyby of an asteroid identified as 99942 Apophis at approximately 14.5 million kilometers away. The asteroid, which was first discovered in 2004, was named after the Egyptian god of evil and darkness measuring at an approximately 877 feet across. Early computations only suggested a 2.7% probability of asteroid collision in 2029." —Oh, there's nothing to worry about, just an asteroid named after a deity responsible for [...]
Busy week. Asteroid 2012 BX34 will safely pass Earth on Jan. 27. Distance: 36,750 miles (59,044 km) or about .17 lunar distance.
— Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) January 26, 2012
Asteroid 2012 BX34 is small, ~11 meters/37 ft diameter. It wouldn't get through our atmosphere intact even if it dared to try.
— Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) January 26, 2012
That's right, asteroid, we dare you. Eeesh.
Astronomers at NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii have discovered water, in the form of ice, and organic compounds on the surface of an asteroid called 24 Themis, which circles the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This supports the theory that an asteroid collision seeded the earth with the elements that developed into basic forms of life. "They have found something that a lot of people, including myself, have been chasing in the solar system for a long time, and that is water and organic material," says Dale Cruikshank, a planetary scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. And [...]
"As if 12/12/12 wasn’t curious enough of a date already with the whole Mayan-doomsday-but-not-really thing, there’s also the dicey issue of tomorrow’s relatively close encounter with the huge (nearly three miles long) 4179 Toutatis asteroid, expected to pass within 4 million miles of Earth. As the author of this story puts it, 'On the scale of the cosmos, that is a very close shave.'"
"All civilizations that inhabit planetary systems must eventually deal with the asteroid threat, or they will go the way of the dinosaurs. We need to predict in advance when impacts are going to occur and, if necessary, shift the orbits of threatening asteroids. In effect, we must change the evolution of the solar system." —The wording of this call for NASA to establish a better asteroid defense system seems appropriate in light of this week's discovery of the Earth-like planet orbiting a star near the constellation of Cygnus. Because you know pretty soon it's going to be like, "Why do WE have to make an infrared survey [...]
"The world's smallest laser, contained in a silica sphere just 44 nanometres across, has been unveiled. At about 10 times smaller than the wavelength of light, however, this is no ordinary laser, it is the first ever 'spaser'." So reports Nature magazine on a new invention. SPASER! Great nickname for a 7th-grader who looks cool on a skateboard even in braces. The colors are pretty. But why would they want to make a smaller laser? How's anyone supposed to destroy an approaching asteroid with that?