NASA Too Slow to Detect and Defend Against Killer Asteroids

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NEO image

So says a new report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. The accompanying press release notes:

The report says the $4 million the U.S. spends annually to search for NEOs [Near Earth Objects] is insufficient to meet a congressionally mandated requirement to detect NEOs that could threaten Earth.

 Congress mandated in 2005 that NASA discover 90 percent of NEOs whose diameter is 140 meters or greater by 2020, and asked the National Research Council in 2008 to form a committee to determine the optimum approach to doing so.  In an interim report released last year, the committee concluded that it was impossible for NASA to meet that goal, since Congress has not appropriated new funds for the survey nor has the administration asked for them. 

 In its final report, the committee lays out two approaches that would allow NASA to complete its goal soon after the 2020 deadline; the approach chosen would depend on the priority policymakers attach to spotting NEOs.  If finishing NASA's survey as close as possible to the original 2020 deadline is considered most important, a mission using a space-based telescope conducted in concert with observations from a suitable ground-based telescope is the best approach, the report says.  If conserving costs is deemed most important, the use of a ground-based telescope only is preferable. 

 The report also recommends that NASA monitor for smaller objects – those down to 30 to 50 meters in diameter—which recent research suggests can be highly destructive.  However, the report stresses that searching for smaller objects should not interfere with first fulfilling the mandate from Congress.  Beyond completion of that mandate, the report notes the need for constant vigilance in monitoring the skies, so as to detect all dangerous NEOs.  …

Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets that orbit the sun and approach or cross Earth's orbit.  An asteroid or comet about 10 kilometers in diameter struck the Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago and caused global devastation, probably wiping out large numbers of plant and animal species including the dinosaurs.  Objects as large as this one strike Earth only about once every 100 million years on average, the report notes.  NASA has been highly successful at detecting and tracking objects 1 kilometer in diameter or larger, and continues to search for these large objects. Objects down to sizes of about 140 meters in diameter—which NASA has been mandated to survey for—would cause regional damage; such impacts happen on average every 30,000 years, the report says.

While impacts by large NEOs are rare, a single impact could inflict extreme damage, raising the classic problem of how to confront a possibility that is both very rare and very important.  Far more likely are those impacts that cause only moderate damage and few fatalities.  Conducting surveys for NEOs and detailed studies of ways to mitigate collisions is best viewed as a form of insurance, the report says.

Go here to download the full report. See also my column "Earth Killers from Outer Space" on the deficiencies of NASA's NEO program.

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  1. Congress mandated in 2005 that NASA discover 90 percent of NEOs whose diameter is 140 meters or greater by 2020

    How about a mandate that NASA discover 1 percent of intelligent space aliens by 2030?

  2. Asteroid strikes don’t carry the self-hating guilt that global warming does. Therefore, addressing it won’t get as much attention. Sorry.

    1. Plus, Liberals traditionally hate both the space program and nukes. They’d really shit themselves over nukes in space.

  3. Global warming causes asteroid strikes! The Earth gets “hotter,” of course asteroids are going to be more attracted to it.

    Stupid libertarians.

    1. technically warmer objects have a greater mass. So realistically the earth would have a greater mass and greater gravitational pull if it was warmer.

      Just saying.

    2. You want irony? A killer asteroid strikes just as the first Libertarian president is being sworn in.

  4. NASA Too Slow to Detect and Defend Against Killer Asteroids.

    What do you mean, “too slow”? Has the Earth been hit by a so-called “killer” asteroid? Is NASA actively defending the Earth against killer asteroids? If not, then you cannot say they were “too slow” – compared to what? A guy not being able to catch a fired bullet with his teeth is “too slow” IF he pretended to catch a bullet with his teeth. A person that just missed taking the subway was “too slow” IF he pretended to get to work on time by takign the subway. You have to have something to compare when saying “this was too slow” or “this guy was too flamboyant” when in Mardi Gras.

    1. Never mind about defending “Against Killer Asteroids.” We need to concentrate first on The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

  5. One of the few NASA programs I can support. I have no issue looking for planet smashing asteroids under the general welfare clause.

    1. The general welfare clause is a preamble to the enumerated powers. It basically says that in order to provide for the general welfare, congress can collect taxes, but only for the following things. So unless you can make the case that asteroid watching is a legitimate function of the army or navy, congress doesn’t have the authority to pay for it.

    2. Oh and even if it is constitutional, what’s the point of detecting killer asteroids if we don’t also have a way to stop them? I guess I’d like to know a week or two ahead of time that the earth is about to be destroyed so I can go out and steal a Ferrari or something, but realistically, detecting killer asteroids serves no practical purpose.

  6. I would rather avoid watching the post-impact Congressional hearings, but there would be a certain amusement factor:

    [Committeeroom, New Washington, September 2027]
    Congressman Gasbag: “We mandated in 2005 that you detect all object larger than 90 meters by 2020, yet we had no warning. Explain your failure.”
    Nasa Spokesperson: “We had no funding for the search.”
    Gasbag: “You had no funding? Out of the tens of billions in your budget?”
    Nasa: “Eight-five percent of the funding was earmarks for Peanut Museums and such. Most of the balance was dedicated to the Super-Space Cannon being built in your district.”
    Gasbag: “Why didn’t you request funding?”
    Nasa: “We did, but you fought against it in your famous ‘Why are we looking for things in space when our children have no school lunches? speech.”

  7. The report says the $4 million the U.S. spends annually to search for NEOs [Near Earth Objects] is insufficient to meet a congressionally mandated requirement to detect NEOs that could threaten Earth.

    We need more money to find flying rocks in space.

    Jeez – appropriations are like sausages . . .

  8. What is the libertarian point of view regarding tax dollars used in this manner??? Personally I think that this may be a case of “common good” that (like combating infectious diseases) is within the scope of government but some may disagree and think private protection companies be so employed…

    1. The Libertarian point of view is that the only reason people are worried about these things is because of Deep Impact (and 30 years ago, Asteroid, with Sean Connery.)

      It is quite absurd to worry about these things – if people believe one should hit, there could be nothing practical we could do except prepare ourselves with one hell of a root cellar.

      1. there could be nothing practical we could do except prepare ourselves with one hell of a root cellar.

        Moving an asteroid that is 10 years away from hitting the earth would probably be cheaper then the Tennessee Valley authority…and trillions cheaper then any plan to reduce CO2.

        There are a ton of practical ways to move an asteroid.

        1. Well, here’s the thing: We know about these killer asteroids fairly recently an suddenly consider them a major threat, kinda like the supposed threat of colon cancer from grilled meat, even though for at least 1.5 million years NOBODY worried about that.

          1. “defend against enemies foreign and domestic”

            Are asteroids foreign? are they enemies?

            Anyway my point being that I recognize the state’s responsibility in protecting it citizens from death. And all things being equal i would rather they spent it on asteroids rather then climate change. Two good reasons would be it is way cheaper and unlike climate change an actual potential problem.

            This did happen:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event

    2. Why can’t it be “open sourced?” It’s not like amateur astronomers are just using their telescopes like Craig Wasson and Dudley Moore did.

      1. I had the same thought.

      2. It’s not like amateur astronomers are just using their telescopes like Craig Wasson and Dudley Moore did.

        Speak for yourself – I got the idea for my telescope usage from “10”

  9. Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets that orbit the sun and approach or cross Earth’s orbit. An asteroid or comet about 10 kilometers in diameter struck the Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago and caused global devastation, probably wiping out large numbers of plant and animal species including the dinosaurs. Objects as large as this one strike Earth only about once every 100 million years on average, the report notes.

    . . . and we’re due for another one! Quick! HIT THE DECK!

  10. The K-2 Extinction asteroid was clearly an inside job…

    1. I blame it on the Wall St. fat cats.

      1. we inherited this asteroid from the last administration.

  11. Those bastard in Congress finally realized that Earth is too big to fail.

    1. NASA complains bailout is not enough to prevent future disasters.

  12. The report says the $4 million the U.S. spends annually to search for NEOs [Near Earth Objects] is insufficient to meet a congressionally mandated requirement to detect NEOs that could threaten Earth.

    Translation: “Pretty nice planet you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it…”

  13. Obama should take this problem seriously. Morgan Freeman’s presidency suffered significantly from failure to detect and stop collisions with asteroids.

    1. . . . But then the waters receded.

      (And Morgan Freeman did not use a teleprompter!)

  14. Conducting surveys for NEOs and detailed studies of ways to mitigate collisions is best viewed as a form of insurance, the report says.

    The answer is right in fron of you: Let the insurers handle the task of searching for Near Earth Objects and shove them out of the way – they would more likely not be “too slow” in that task.

    1. Where do you buy planet insurance?

      1. I’ll sell you some!

        1. I would like public planet insurance.

          1. You need to buy a clue. Maybe rent one and see if you like it.

    2. I’m sorry, but not everyone can afford asteroid insurance. To say nothing of comet insurance. There needs to be a public option.

      1. What about the gamma-ray burst insurance?

        Those things burn.

        1. Today, only the very rich are insured for such things.

        2. Those things burn. Ya, but you look fabulous after six weeks.

          1. What about LHC insurance?

            1. Time travel will take care of that problem.

              1. Oh, okay.

  15. Since the Yellowstone Caldera is certain to erupt in the next few hundred thousand years, why isn’t the government spending billions to protect us from it, huh? And why the fuck aren’t they spending billions to delay the end of our current interglacial?

    I’ll tell you why: NASA is buying our government. Steve Smith is somehow involved.

  16. I wonder how NASA’s expenditures on NEO research stack up against its expenditures on global warming research?

  17. Steve Smith is somehow involved.

    Yes, the gubmint’s failure to protect us from absolutely everything has that pithecine’s grubby, rape-scented fingerprints all over it. Congress should mandate that researchers detect 90% of all Steve Smith by a certain arbitrary date. That could go a long way toward mitigating the damage done to society by sasquatch terror-sex.

  18. The report says the $4 million the U.S. spends annually to search for NEOs [Near Earth Objects] is insufficient

    Well, dog my cats.

    1. It’s about $4M too much being spent.

  19. 2020? I think you have considerably less time to get your shit together.

  20. sasquatch terror-sex.

    The act, of course, culminates with his signature move, the blood sasquatch.

    1. You fools! You and Xeones both! Steve Smith is being setup as the fall guy. Its teh giant, evil bug! Even now he watches with amused delight as his plans come to fruition!

      LINK!!!

      1. Damn you server squirrel!!!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

  21. the blood sasquatch

    As Steve Smith well knows, blood is an excellent lubricant.

    Also, Mayan observer, just because your civilization procrastinated on finishing the Long Count and then collapsed before ever getting back to it doesn’t mean the rest of us should worry.

  22. Perhaps NASA still hasn’t upgraded to Asteroids Deluxe.

  23. It would be nice to know if a major rock might hit us in the next century. Maybe we could do something about it, rather than watch its slow, inexorable approach to Earth, counting the days until we die horribly.

    1. THREADJACK!*

      *Now with spoilers

      The Book of Eli

      How awful was it! How the hell can he be blind? And a crack shot! And how the hell can he fight with the blade? Does being blind mean you acquire superpowers or something?

      1. Does being blind mean you acquire superpowers or something?

        Yes. Don’t tell Foggy.

      2. Maybe making him blind was a way to deny that they totally ripped off the visual style of Fallout 3 for the movie.

        1. I’ve never played the game . . .

          *hangs head in shame*

          1. Wow, really? You need to procure it. Now. We’ll wait.

            1. Negative. I’m saving to buy this.

              1. Nah, too real. You need more virtuality. Fallout 3, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins. . .they all beckon to you.

                Naturally, you will have to buy Star Wars: The Old Republic when it comes out.

                1. I played paintball with a wimpy spyder xtra last Wednesday. I want to just hang back and shoot at people. Fuck grabbing the flag. I was thinking about buying a riot shield online to ensure my safety as everyone is gonna be pissed when I shoot them right at the starting point 200 ft away.

                  What is this . . . Star Wars: The Old Republic that you speak of? Is it a hat?

                  1. It’s the second sequel to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. For a Sith Lord from that era, I think you pretty much have to buy the game.

                    I think it’s going to be an MMO, too.

                    1. Nah. I’ll stick with the painball gun. Capable of shooting down an airliner.

                    2. Can we stop making every new game an MMO? I started playing video games so i WOULDNT have to interact with people.

                    3. My understanding is that it’s going to be a full stand-alone, too, so you can skip the MMO crap.

            2. Can’t…stop…playing…Fallout 3….

              1. Why should you stop. . .at all?

                1. Well, I do have to eat and occasionally go to work.

                  Sleep is for the dead.

                  1. You could sleep in your gamer chair. IVs can meet your nutritional needs. Jobs are for losers–get a grant.

        2. No kidding, SF. When I saw the trailer, I thought “Holy shit. They made a Fallout movie and I didn’t know about it?”

          1. Doesn’t he have some sort of iPod that’s supposed to have remained functional all those years? Nice product placement, but that’s impossible.

            1. Dude. Cockroaches, twinkies, and iPods. The only things capable of surviving nuclear war . . . or whatever happened in that movie.

              1. My kids went through an adequate number of iPods to cause us to ban the product in favor of more reliable mp3 players.

                1. I didn’t notice any “mp3 players” in The Book of Eli. You should place a few iPods in your bomb shelter.

                  1. That’s ’cause Apple didn’t pay the studio to include nonbranded mp3 players. That would defeat the purpose, you know.

      3. Does being blind mean you acquire superpowers or something?

        Only if you practice really realy hard, like Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury.

        1. Rutger Hauer? Fictional. Seriously, who was in Blind Fury?

          1. You’re not hating on Rutger Hauer in this forum, surely.

            1. I’m bored. Just tryin’ to stir things up.

              1. That’s one way to do it.

                I recall an obscure Hauer film, where he defeated his enemy (Gene Simmons) by shoving a grenade in his mouth and pulling the pin.

                1. I remember him honoring his human maker. Then crushing his skull.

                  I may be misremembering.

                  1. Different movie. Unless you’re thinking of the one where he ties a girl to a truck and something else. Not pleasant, that.

                    1. The trouble with him is that he always has that cold blue eyed stare. It’s what I always focus on. He’s quite good at the bad motherfucker ending to his enemies. They blur together unfortunately.

                    2. In the future, there will be only one Rutger Hauer movie.

                    3. Meta-Hauer?

                      *shivers*

            2. The match up between Rutger and Jennifer Jason Leigh was memorable.

  24. Space cops..
    Like regular cops, they are not there nor expected to prevent the crime, just do something afterwards: with great expense, minimal speed and/or minimal effort.

  25. Blood is a fine lubricant. And, after it clots and dries, makes a outstanding exfoliate.

    And leaving 10% of Steve Smiths undetected is a recipe for a global timber-rape disaster.

  26. As a libertarian, I’m totally fine spending money on this.

  27. Something something something…DARK SIDE.

    That is how we will deal with the NEO threat.

  28. Just think of all the dust a mini-planetoid would kick up when it smacked Earth. Global Warming solved!

    When it hits, I hope NASA has one of its orbit-based super-peepers trained upon our collective celestial doom, because I have a hunch on what it would see when zoomed in:

    The rounded figure of Al Gore, riding the rock down like Slim Pickens on a nuke; selflessly saving us all from global warming…

    Thanks Algore, thanks

    1. Uh, dude, the worst scenario is an ocean strike. An asteroid the size of a VW beetle striking the Chesapeake Bay would cause disastrous flooding from Norfolk, VA up through Philadelphia, PA.

  29. In 1987, the US government bought out the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union as part of the planned end to the Cold War. The US then took control of the nuclear arsenal of the USSR’s former satellite states. The CIA spread the lie that these nukes were unaccounted for in order to garner support for anti-terrorism funding, part of which is used to fund the upkeep of the former USSR nuclear arsenal, the other part of which is used to adapt the Strategic Defense Initiative to act as a targeting system for asteroids approaching Earth. The nuclear arsenal was updated with interplanetary-grade navigation and propulsion systems, adapted for use with the SDI targeting system, and is now ready to defend Earth against any near Earth object that might threaten the Earth.

  30. And how the hell can he fight with the blade?

    What a silly question.

    1. Dammit he’s blind! Not a fucking X-Man!! He didn’t get raped by some sort of radioactive Steve Smith of the future did he?

  31. The Steve Smith of now is radioactive.

    1. With rape?

      1. Well, radioactivity basic rapes your DNA… maybe it’s just part and parcel of his powers.

        1. Hmmm. This requires further study. I’ll send Warty to do . . . um . . . field work.

  32. All but the most fanatical Libertarian believes in government spending on national defense. An Asteroid the size of Manhattan hitting the Earth would be worse than a Russian missile barrage. I think that even Ron Paul could support this spending.

    1. Even smaller, BB, see my 3:22 post upthread.

    2. All but the most fanatical Libertarian believes in government spending on national defense.

      “All but the most fanatical heliocentrist believe in the Earth being the center of the Universe.”

      And that makes both right! Gee, this Argumentum Ad Populum shit is easy!

  33. A few million to track asteroids and comets that can kill us all and that we know will, in fact, hit us at some point is okay by me.

    Though I’d fund it with a bounty system: Find us an asteroid that might hit the Earth in the next century, and you get $2 million!

    1. Then you’d just have scientists driving asteroids in an out of collision courses with earth every time they need more money.

  34. Do we have the technology to stop a giant asteroid from hitting the planet? If not, it really does not matter if we see it coming or not.

    1. Depends on the lead time we get. If it’s going to hit next week, I rather think not.

      Which, of course, is the reason to track the junk in the first place.

    2. In the strict sense, no we don’t have the technology, because we’ve never done that before. However, we have all the component technologies so it shouldn’t be that difficult. The biggest hurdle is docking with the ‘roid – takes a lot of fuel to match the velocity of something going that fast.

  35. Silly Americans… how is saving the world from annhilation your responsibility… the UN must foot the bill for this duh!

  36. It’s a trap! If you say you support spending for asteroids that aren’t a threat to Earth, then they’ll ask why you refuse to spend anything on global warming despite it not being a threat to Earth.

  37. I’ll send Warty to do . . . um . . . field work.

    He’s, like, months ahead of you on that.

  38. What? You already sent him? ASSHOLE!! You better not steal my Nobel, mutherfucker! You hear, me!?!? It’s mine!

  39. The National Academy of Sciences released their report titled “NASA’s Asteroid Detection Programs Not Yet Meeting U.S. Goals” back in August 2009 here-

    http://www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/20090812.html

    I have spent the last six years of my blogging experience focusing on the lack of attention paid to this issue not only by the Government but NASA itself. I wrote on the Congressional hearing in 2007 which were truly depressing.

    http://tmancensored.blogspot.c…..ional.html

    The only group who actually has a clue on what should be done is the ex-astronauts from the B612 Foundation.

    http://www.b612foundation.org/

    We will get whacked again within the next 50 years by something as big as what hit Tunguska, Siberia in 1908. Had that particular impact hit St. Petersburg instead of the middle of nowhere in Siberia, over half a million people would’ve died instantaneously.

    But yeah, who cares. We should worry more about a 20cm rise in ocean levels over the next 300 years instead.

    1. That had better be the Russian St. Petersburg, as I am typing in the U.S. version of that city [sneaks look at sky though window].

      1. Indeed it is. If you look at the location of St. Petersburg its latitude is pretty close to where the impact site for Tunguska was. Based on this we can calculate that an impact from the same object would’ve been devastating had it landed just a little bit later.

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi…..nguska.png

        1. I’ve seen some discussion of how bad it could’ve been if it had hit at a slightly different time.

          1. I’ve seen a lot of the black and white 8MM video from the first examination from the crash site at Tunguska. It’s really amazing. Almost 2,000 square miles of two foot wide trees that were blown over like toothpicks. Comparing what would happen in a city is downright apocalyptic.

            When I talk about this with other spacegeeks, we always philosophize about how different 20th century history would’ve been had this happened in St. Petersburg. You can imagine that our outlook about this problem would be vastly different at this stage.

            1. Thank God we didn’t get one of those city-erasers during the Cold War.

              1. I’ve always wondered how different WWI and WWII would’ve been had this happened. If Russia was still picking up the pieces of one of their capitals Nicholas II may have been removed from power before WWI, thus preventing the catastrophe that befell Russia in that conflict.

                You can take similar argument by placing the impact at other latitudinal places around the globe and apply healthy doses of speculation. It’s a great late night drinking conversation for geeks like me.

  40. Six years? Dude, are you self employed or something?

    1. No, it’s an admittedly freakish hobby of mine. I don’t take blogs as seriously as other bloggers apparently do. I enjoy writing about it and my friends and family like to read it so there you go. I have a regular 50hrs a week gig that isn’t exciting.

      1. You should blog for the next six years about how we need to develop motors that can attach to said asteroid and guide it to it’s proper destination. Massachusetts. It’s the only way to be sure.

        1. Uhh, Naga, you typed “Massachusetts” but I’m pretty sure you meant “Washington, DC”.

          1. Yeah, I’m okay with Massachusetts this week for some reason.

          2. Aim it right and you can do both at once.

        2. Not internal combustion. Bad for the environment. Maybe something that runs on water?

          1. A giant fire hose, with a tank that holds all of the water from the Indian ocean?

            1. Or maybe a great big ole bottle of soda and a shitload of Mentos?

              1. If you anchored the bottles to the ‘roid securly, that could actually work.

                Get me 5 million 2liter bottles of soda, 10 tons of mentos, all the lifting rockets on earth, and a team of aging space cowboys. We’ve got a planet to save.

                (Coming to theaters this spring.)

                1. I think you almost described the plot of the inevitable Mythbusters movie.

                  1. NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE has recently discovered a half mile wide asteroid that our other telescopes have completely missed.
                    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/astero…..lease=2460

                    The deflection that will work the best, a gravity tractor -see here-
                     http://www.b612foundation.org/press/press.html , will only work provided we find it within a 5-10 year window. If we find anything that will hit sooner than that we currently have absolutely nothing that would create the force necessary to change something that big moving that fast (average speed is like 15k mph).

                    The good news is no one would see it hit them. There will be no spetacular fire trail like in the
                    movies. At 15k mph you will see a flash of light followed by whatever else happens when you die.

                    I’d like to see a

  41. Still love this

    “President: We didn’t see this thing coming?
    Dan: Well, our object collison budget’s a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and beg’n your pardon sir, but it’s a big-ass sky.”

  42. Since the Yellowstone Caldera is certain to erupt in the next few hundred thousand years…

    What about the New Madrid Fault, which is said too produce a major earthquake every two hundred years or so?

    The last big one was 1812. How prepared is St Louis for that kind of thing?

    Actually, the New Madrid Fault may be stabilizing. Something to do with not being on a plate boundary or something.

    And apparently due to the westward movement of the North American plate the “hot spot” in the mantle is now somewhre under western Nebraska where the plate is much thicker. So the Yellowstone Caldera is a shadow of its former self.

    1. Still, with all the natural disasters that have a high probability of ocurring and producing death and destruction it’s interesting that so many folks are fixated on Global Warming and Asteroids.

    2. And apparently due to the westward movement of the North American plate …..

      America saves the day again. Is there anything we can’t do?

  43. Who said anything about ass steroids?

  44. What? You already sent him? ASSHOLE!! You better not steal my Nobel, mutherfucker! You hear, me!?!? It’s mine!

    He volunteered. I had nothing to do with it. Besides, trust me, NOBODY gets a Nobel for anything having to do with Steve Smith. Not even one of the ones they give out to just anybody, like the Peace Prize.

  45. If many people care about asteroid impacts to donate money to fund the search for NEOs, then government funding is unnecessary.

    If few people care about asteroid impacts to donate money to fund the search for NEOs, then government funding is undemocratic.

    1. Didn’t Bill Gates and a few others give major cash to further the effort a couple of years ago?

  46. A post about NASA vs. killer asteroids and not one of you commenters mentions the greatest docudrama on the subject, Armageddon? Damned philistines.

    1. I quoted Bill Bob Thornton’s character here:

      brotherben|1.25.10 @ 3:52PM|#
      Still love this

      “President: We didn’t see this thing coming?
      Dan: Well, our object collison budget’s a million dollars. That allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and beg’n your pardon sir, but it’s a big-ass sky.”

      Most people that post hereabouts don’t have my culture or sophistication. You oughtta give em a little break.

  47. We cant accuse NASA for any reason,because they are trying to do best.

  48. Why can’t it be “open sourced?” It’s not like amateur astronomers are just using their telescopes like Craig Wasson and Dudley Moore did.

    Up until quite recently almost all of the NEO search was the province of amateurs. They just photographed the sky on every clear night, kept decent records and put matching plates in a blink comparator over and over again. When they got a hit, call in the pros, but also shoot again and try to compute the orbital elements themselves.

    These days there are also some large scale pro projects but the amateurs are still kicking a respectable fraction of the finds.

    Increasingly it is possible to build a multiple scope, automated facility for a few tens of thousands of dollars. I saw a colloquium on one of those projects just a couple of months ago. From a guy with a dozen finds to his name who used to work with Clyde Tombaugh.

    1. Bloody hell.

      Preview!

      The first paragraph was the quote. The rest is me.

  49. Have Peter North shoot a load at those asteroids. Worked for me.

  50. Dude nase needs to get light speed man taking freaken for ever at least try there just trying to get to mars for like 1000 years now they could have gotten light speed by now

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