Finding Killer Space Rocks Before They Find Us: Turbo Edition
Last week's events have asteroid hunters feeling both vindicated and excited as they step up efforts to develop better detection methods.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Last week's events involving big rocks from space -- the Asteroid DA14 fly-by and the Chelyabinsk meteor strike -- have energized NASA and several private groups currently working on ways to detect and ward off future visitors. One of the groups, the B612 Foundation, wants to launch a space telescope that will identify most asteroids larger than 460 feet in diameter that are in Earth's vicinity. They also hope to locate asteroids that are as small as 100 feet in diameter. Spokeswoman Diane Murphy says that their Web site and Twitter account have received thousands of hits: "[Everybody is] saying, 'When are you going to have the telescope up?'"
What's the Big Idea?
Searches for killer rocks in space have been going on since the 1980s. In 2007, NASA issued a report that cataloged potentially dangerous objects, and scientists fought unsuccessfully to deploy a telescope that would orbit the Sun and scan the solar system. Today, with limited funding, NASA's earthbound telescopes are able to locate almost all large objects headed this way. For their part, B612 Foundation chair Edward Lu says his organization's effort will cost approximately $450 million and yes, they welcome donations from the public.
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Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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