World Bulletin / News Desk
A California Space research group plans to build, launch and operate a privately funded Space telescope to hunt for asteroids that may be on a collision course with Earth, project managers said on Thursday.
The B612 Foundation - named after a fictional planet in the book "The Little Prince" - is counting on private donors to raise money for the wide-angle, infrared telescope and its operations, estimated at a few hundred million dollars.
The goal is to chart 500,000 asteroids that fly relatively close to Earth.
The telescope, called Sentinel, will be positioned closer to the sun than Earth so it can look outward and track approaching asteroids for months, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, chairman emeritus of B612, said during a conference call.
The technology exists to deflect an asteroid, provided it is found in time, added former shuttle and Space station astronaut Ed Lu, the foundation's chairman and chief executive.
The goal is to have decades of notice, Lu told Reuters.
"I think it would be embarrassing if we were to be struck by a major asteroid in the next few decades simply because we didn't choose to do the mapping that's needed to find these asteroids," he said.
Schweickart said it wasn't a question of if Earth will be hit by an asteroid, but when.
The planet bears the scars of past events. An impact 65 million years ago is believed to have triggered a change in Earth's climate that killed off dinosaurs and other life.
In 1908, an incoming asteroid or comet blasted apart over Siberia, Russia, leveling 830 square miles (2,150 square kilometers) of trees.
"You don't want to put off for some future date, if you can make a difference now, something which relates directly to human lives and public safety," Schweickart said. "That's why we've taken the initiative."
During its planned 5 1/2 year mission, Sentinel should be able to find 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids that are 460 feet (140 meters) in diameter or larger, and about 50 percent of asteroids 130 feet (40 meters) in diameter.
In addition to looking out for potentially dangerous asteroids, the information could be used for proposed asteroid mining projects and by researchers.
It is expected to be launched in 2017 or 2018 aboard a Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9 rocket.
The arrests came as Cambodia prepares its first Cyber Crime law, a draft of which has been criticised as contains measures meant to silence criticism of government.
City-killer asteroids are forecast to strike about once every 100 years, but the prediction is not based on hard evidence.
The two-day Net Mundial conference in Sao Paulo will discuss cyber security and how to safeguard privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet, as well as the shape of a future international body
Though the overall number of spying incidents studied tripled to 511 from total in the 2013 Verizon report, most of that increase is due to the addition of new data sources
There were no reports of damage but the ball of fire raised eyebrows after a meteorite crashed to Earth near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk
NASA officials had planned to crash the spacecraft into the moon, after it transmitted its final batch of data.
The discovery is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin
An ambitious project in Turkey's south could see a pioneering clean energy project.
Depending on local weather conditions, the eclipse was visible across a swath of the United States
Google and Facebook have been competing in innovative ways to increase internet access globally and tap into previously untouched markets.
A 14-year-old Dutch girl who sent a terror threat to American Airlines as a Twitter “joke” has been arrested by police in Rotterdam
The legal action is the first to emerge from a humiliating episode for Microsoft, which the software company has never fully explained and has accounted for only as a "technical error."
The widespread bug surfaced late on Monday, when it was disclosed that a pernicious flaw in a widely used Web encryption program known as OpenSSL opened hundreds of thousands of websites to data theft.
For some, increased connectivity has allowed them to see social network and sharing websites like Youtube and Facebook for the first time.
The suspects exploited the fact that some users had the same pin number or password for both credit cards and the loyalty card to create fake cards and charge items earlier this year