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B612 Sentinel: The First Privately Funded Deep Space Mission

Posted in Science on 29th Jun, 2012 05:56 PM by AlexMuller

Not content to sit back and wait for an asteroid to obliterate all life on Earth, a group of scientists and space vets are launching their own telescope. Sentinel will be the world's first privately funded space telescope, and it will orbit the sun and map out the asteroids lurking around the interior of our solar system.


So, we aren't completely ignoring asteroid threats. NASA's Near-Earth Object mission is tasked with cataloging space rocks that are more than half a mile wide. So far, NEO has found around 10,000 objects, and estimates this to be around 90 of all the near-Earth objects to be found. Floating alongside these half-mile rocks are smaller asteroids, which, while not Earth-shattering, could do still quite a bit of damage.


The B612 Foundation, which is the group funding the Sentinel Space Telescope, points to Russia's Tunguska event in 1908 as a reason why we need better asteroid detection. While much smaller than the near-Earth objects we currently track, the Tunguska meteorite still exploded with the energy of "about 185 Hiroshima bombs," according to NASA. With that in mind, the foundation is proposing that we try and map all asteroids, not just the big ones.


That's where the Sentinel Space Telescope comes in. The plan is to launch the telescope into heliocentric orbit within the next 10 years, where it will take in whole hemispheres of space at once. In five and a half years, according to the foundation, Sentinel should have some 98 percent of near-Earth asteroid, both large and small, identified.


The B612 Foundation is led by some heavy hitters in the space world, including astronaut Rusty Schweickart, who is one of its founders and an asteroid defense advocate, and fellow astronaut Edward Lu, who acts as the foundation's CEO.

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Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-23
04/09/2012I do love the manner in which you have peenrsted this specific situation plus it really does give us some fodder for thought. On the other hand, because of what precisely I have witnessed, I simply wish when other comments pack on that people remain on point and don't get started on a soap box associated with the news du jour. Yet, thank you for this fantastic point and whilst I do not really go along with it in totality, I respect the viewpoint. Reply


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