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August 2017

"At NASA Every Day is an Asteroid Day"

Planet Citizens, Planet Scientists, Look Up

NASA-funded astronomer teams are always on the hunt for potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, asteroids and comets whose orbits periodically bring them within 30 million miles of Earth's orbit. At NASA, the Planetary Defense Coordination Office supports the search programs, while also planning and coordinating any response to possible asteroid impacts.

"Intruder Alert": Interested in Doing Some Observations that Could Save the World?

Would Be Interested in Looking Up and Logging On to Report?





NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL): "NASA scientists are excited about the upcoming close flyby of a small asteroid named 2012 TC4, a threatening "Near Earth Object", and plan to use its upcoming October close approach to Earth as an opportunity not only for science, but to test NASA's network of observatories and scientists who work with planetary defense".

NASA adds a note: "We thought this would be a great opportunity to learn how to coordinate not only between observers within the USA but also observers around the world, about how to track asteroids".

Fact is: NASA has never done a test like this before, previously their tests have been theoretical. Using a real asteroid to gauge the situation will help scientists understand the best course of action.

Professor Vishnu Reddy from the University of Arizona explains:

"The question is: How prepared are we for the next cosmic threat? So we proposed an observational campaign to exercise the network and test how ready we are for a potential impact by a hazardous asteroid... This is an opportunity for the collaborative observation campaign to utilize the international aspect of the network."

"This is a team effort that involves more than a dozen observatories, universities and labs across the globe so we can collectively learn the strengths and limitations of our near-Earth object observation capabilities."

GreenPolicy siterunner: To our knowledge Hollywood writers have not been asked to participate, so we have no info on Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood or any other space cowboys going up to lasso flaming asteroids shooting toward home planet destruction.




March 2015

Are You Tech Savvy?


NASA's Desktop Application Has Potential to Increase Asteroid Detection, Now Available to Public

NASA's Asteroid Data Hunter contest series was part of NASA's Asteroid Grand Challenge, which is focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them.

“Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation”

A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers.

Analysis of images taken of our solar system's main belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter using the algorithm showed a 15 percent increase in positive identification of new asteroids.

During a panel Sunday at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, NASA representatives discussed how citizen scientists have made a difference in asteroid hunting. They also announced the release of a desktop software application developed by NASA in partnership with Planetary Resources, Inc., of Redmond, Washington. The application is based on an Asteroid Data Hunter-derived algorithm that analyzes images for potential asteroids. It's a tool that can be used by amateur astronomers and citizen scientists.




Re: NASA / Planetary Resouces / NanoRacks -- https://www.greenpolicy360.net/w/File:Planet_Labs_and_NanoRacks_launch_from_the_ISS_Feb_2014.jpg

Astronomers find asteroids by taking images of the same place in the sky and looking for star-like objects that move between frames, an approach that has been used since before Pluto was discovered in 1930. With more telescopes scanning the sky, the ever-increasing volume of data makes it impossible for astronomers to verify each detection by hand. This new algorithm gives astronomers the ability to use computers to autonomously and rapidly check the images and determine which objects are suitable for follow up, which leads to finding more asteroids than previously possible.




Over the past few years, scientists have increasingly made studying asteroids a priority, so that they might better protect humanity from a cataclysmic strike by a large meteor.


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