The End of the World as We Know it

There is much speculation in the aerospace sciences community as to what impact an asteroid or comet would have on the Earth were they to cross paths, and when that might happen.

Scientists believe it was a 10-kilometer asteroid/comet that slammed into the Earth near the Gulf of Mexico some 66 million years ago and lead to the extinction of 70 percent of all species on the planet, including the dinosaurs.

Recently, we witnessed the most documented meteor landing in human history: the Chelyabink Meteor.  The meteor emitted a blinding light and massive booms as it ripped through the atmosphere and exploded mid-flight creating a shockwave that injured more than 1400 people and damaged over 7200 buildings (largely just shattering windows). So, it gives us sufficient cause to wonder: What are we doing to prevent our civilization from going the way of the dinosaurs?

The only active measure we are publicly undertaking is observation. Scientist and researchers worldwide are hard at work tracking some 620,000 near-Earth asteroids (NEA). This may sound like a large number but, of the estimated 60 million asteroids in our solar system, this represents a meager one percent.

Planetary Resources from Bellevue, Washington, aim to enlist citizens in the search for objects that may pose a threat to our little blue planet. They are raising money via Kickstart to launch the first crowd-funded space telescope. To date, they have gained 15,000 supporters and generated $1.2 million (U.S.) in pledges with three days remaining in their fundraising efforts. With the terabytes of data created by the telescope, they plan to enlist we, the people, to help search skies “in a fun, game-like process from [our] personal computers.”

This mil/aero geek, who will keep an eye on Planetary Resources and its progress, looks forward to playing “Where’s the asteroid?”

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Posted June 27th, 2013, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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