How Sentinel will hunt for hidden asteroids

June 6, 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.

The video will load shortly

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

Related Stories

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

April 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… three to ten ...

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 allowing citizen ...

Asteroid 2013 TV135: A reality check

October 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 be about 1,300 feet ...

Recommended for you

Bursts of methane may have warmed early Mars

January 24, 2017

The presence of water on ancient Mars is a paradox. There's plenty of geographical evidence that rivers periodically flowed across the planet's surface. Yet in the time period when these waters are supposed to have run—three ...

Gaia turns its eyes to asteroid hunting

January 24, 2017

While best known for its surveys of the stars and mapping the Milky Way in three dimensions, ESA's Gaia has many more strings to its bow. Among them, its contribution to our understanding of the asteroids that litter the ...

Dwarf galaxies shed light on dark matter

January 23, 2017

The first sighting of clustered dwarf galaxies bolsters a leading theory about how big galaxies such as our Milky Way are formed, and how dark matter binds them, researchers said Monday.

One of the brightest distant galaxies known discovered

January 23, 2017

An international team led by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) has discovered one of the brightest "non-active" galaxies in the early universe. Finding ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.