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.

01 July 2008

The Plantaery Society's NEO Fund

From an email solicitation from The Planetary Society to donate to their NEO fund.

Link: The Planetary Society NEO Fund

Dear Member,

On the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska asteroid explosion, how simply can I state Earth's situation without hyperbole? Let me give this a try:

* We know of 4,700 asteroids that could strike Earth.
* 700 of them could cause global disaster.
* We'll need to know within a few years if we need to deflect the closest NEO, Apophis, from its current orbit, or there may not be time to stop it.
* Congress is tying NASA's hands, or "blinding us" if you prefer, because of budgetary constraints.
* We have to determine the threat level without their help.

In case you were wondering, Apophis is the size of Yankee Stadium, and it's traveling at 45,000 kilometers per hour.

How likely are we to be hit and significantly damaged? The Tunguska Event occurred 100 years ago today. On that day, an asteroid exploded over Siberia, killing all life and flattening trees over 2000 square kilometers.

The Planetary Society is now working in two ways to prevent this from happening again. We are:

1. Working to keep the Arecibo Observatory in operation. It's 20 times more sensitive than any other radio-telescope instrument in the world. But it's scheduled to be closed because of budget problems.

2. Funding research through the Shoemaker NEO Grant fund. One of our recipients, Roy Tucker, is a co-discoverer of Apophis. He used his grant to buy the equipment which helped him discover Apophis.

Your support for our NEO Fund will help Shoemaker recipients, and facilities like the Arecibo Observatory, stay on watch for inbound NEOs. You'll also help develop strategies to protect us from a catastrophic hit.

Donate now and your support will help our best minds take on these all-too-real threats to our only home: Our planet Earth.


Louis Friedman
Dr. Louis D. Friedman
Executive Director

P.S. As far as we now know, there are 700 NEOs heading our way that could cause global disaster. Are there more? Please donate today, so we can continue to fund NEO research.

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