How Sentinel will hunt for hidden asteroids

Jun 06, 2014 by Jason Major, Universe Today

Asteroids of various sizes whiz past our planet all the time. Some we know about, but many we don't, and new ones are identified on an almost weekly basis. (In fact one such recently-discovered asteroid named 2014 HQ214, an object the length of an aircraft carrier, will pass us at a mere 3 lunar distances today June 8… watch live coverage here.) And, of course, some actually do impact Earth, and if they are large enough the results can be quite… energetic, to put it lightly.

While there aren't yet any programs in place that can prevent a large from happening, there are some that are at least on the lookout for potential impactors. The B612 Foundation's privately-funded Sentinel mission is one of them and, once launched and placed in orbit around the Sun in 2018, will hunt for near-Earth asteroids down to about 140 meters in size using the most advanced infrared imaging technology… and no federal budget cuts or red tape to worry about.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The video above, produced by B612 Foundation's primary contractor Ball Aerospace, shows how Sentinel will work, and why development has been going so well.

"I see this as the wave of the future—the ability for non-governmental organizations to put together the funding, working with outstanding technical organizations like Ball Aerospace, and produce space missions where the government isn't involved and where the price is much, much less, and we still get the same kind of great information." – Dr. Scott Hubbard, B612 Program Architect and former director of the NASA Ames Research Center

Explore further: Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

Apr 17, 2014

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Small asteroid will pass earth safely on Thursday

Mar 07, 2014

(Phys.org) —An asteroid about 25 feet (8 meters) across will safely pass Earth at about 1:21 p.m. PST (4:21 p.m. EST) today, March 6, approaching us six times closer than the moon.

NASA and Slooh will ask amateur asteroid hunters for help

May 23, 2014

Do you lack a telescope, but have a burning desire to look for asteroids near Earth? No problem! NASA and the Slooh telescope network will soon have you covered, as the two entities have signed a new agreement ...

Asteroid 2013 TV135: A reality check

Oct 18, 2013

(Phys.org) —Newly discovered asteroid 2013 TV135 made a close approach to Earth on Sept. 16, when it came within about 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers). The asteroid is initially estimated to ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

3 hours ago

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

3 hours ago

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Biomarkers of the deep

5 hours ago

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit ...

User comments : 0