MIT engineers devise a decision map to identify the best mission type to deflect an incoming asteroid.
On April 13, 2029, an icy chunk of space rock, wider than the Eiffel Tower is tall, will streak by Earth at 30 kilometers per second, grazing the planet's sphere of geostationary satellites.
The object, originally dubbed "Ultima Thule," was renamed to "Arrokoth" due to the connection between the word "Thule" and the Nazis.
- When the New Horizons probe originally visited Arrokoth, the most distant celestial body to have ever been visited by a spacecraft, NASA researchers nicknamed the body "Ultima Thule."
- Thule refers to a distant mythological civilization. Although it originated in ancient Greek and Roman literature, the Nazis co-opted the term to refer to a mythological homeland of the Aryan people.
- The new name, Arrokoth, is Powhatan for "sky."
The private sector may need the Outer Space Treaty to be updated before it can make any claims to celestial bodies or their resources.
- The Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in 1967, is the basis of international space law. Its regulations set out what nations can and cannot do, in terms of colonization and enterprise in space.
- One major stipulation of the treaty is that no nation can individually claim or colonize any part of the universe—when the US planted a flag on the Moon in 1969, it took great pains to ensure the world it was symbolic, not an act of claiming territory.
- Essentially to do anything in space, as a private enterprise, you have to be able to make money. When it comes to asteroid mining, for instance, it would be "astronomically" expensive to set up such an industry. The only way to get around this would be if the resources being extracted were so rare you could sell them for a fortune on Earth.
Before the next big, dangerous, incoming rock arrives.
- A NASA/ESA project plans to try and change the path of an extraterrestrial body.
- The target is the moon of a binary asteroid almost 7 million miles away.
- Science is getting serious about planetary defense.
A surprise on the far side of the Moon.
- Scientists detect a gigantic, underground, metallic anomaly down a crater on the Moon.
- "Whatever it is, wherever it came from," it looks to be billions of years old.
- It's probably the remains of an asteroid that hit the Moon.