This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

30 January 2008

Hubble will attempt to capture 2007 WD5 as it nears Mars

From the Planetary Society Blog:

...They're going to try to catch [2007] WD5 with the Hubble Space Telescope. An alert reader pointed me to various resources on the Space Telescope Science Institute website where you can read about plans for upcoming observations to be performed by Hubble. On this page, Keith Noll proposes in Hubble proposal 11407 "to observe 2007 WD5 prior to its possible impact with Mars. In the event that an impact does occur, we will also observe the asteroid as it approaches Mars, the impact itself, and the aftermath of the impact. HST has unique capabilities to observe this potentially very unusual event." Note that once any observations are performed, the same page will allow you to query the Hubble data banks for information the actual data. And on this other page, you can learn that of the five observations that Noll originally requested, the first four have been withdrawn; presumably these were the ones that would have been taken to observe the approach and impact. Only one set of observations is now planned, using the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), running from January 30 at 10:45:28 to 11:05:00. Those observations are about an hour before the latest close approach time reported by JPL's Near Earth Object program.

Link: Planetary Society Blog Post

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