Will Mankind Go the Way of the Dinosaurs?
Fact, Not Science Fiction: You have a greater chance of dying as the result of an asteroid impact than in a jetliner crash. A quarter-mile-wide asteroid slamming into our planet would cause more destruction than a hundred hydrogen bombs. The latest research reveals that, sooner or later, a catastrophic terrestrial impact is inevitable. The Watch believes in the importance of finding these Near Earth Objects (NEOs) before they find us.
NASA NEO Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives Report to Congress
March 13, 2007 – Section 321 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005, also known as the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act, directs the NASA Administrator to transmit an initial report to Congress that provides: (1) an analysis of possible alternatives that NASA may employ to carry out the survey program of near-Earth Objects (NEO), including groundbased and space-based alternatives with technical descriptions; (2) a recommended option and proposed budget to carry out the survey program pursuant to the recommended option; and (3) an analysis of possible alternatives that NASA could employ to divert an object on a likely collision course with Earth. Download NASA’s March 2007 NEO Report to Congress as a PDF.
Record Meteorite Hits Norway
June 13, 2006 – As Wednesday morning dawned, northern Norway was hit with an impact comparable to the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima. The meteorite hit a mountainside in Reisadalen in North Troms. Norwegian astronomers believes the meteorite was a giant rock and probably the largest known to have struck Norway. The record was the Alta meteorite that landed in 1904. That one was 90 kilos (198 lbs) but the meteorite that landed Wednesday was considerably larger. More info: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1346411.ece
NASA Scores a Hole in One from 2.9 Billion Miles Away
January 15, 2006 – Congratulations NASA! This morning, a little past 5 a.m. EST the return capsule from NASA’s Stardust comet sample return mission parachuted down precisely onto a desert salt flat in Utah. The mission involved a trip of 2.9 billion miles including circling the Sun 3 times. This is the most spectacular hole in one in the history of our species. The Stardust project shows what excellent work NASA is capable of.
NASA’s project to collect samples from the comet Wild II accomplished many scientific firsts. It was not only the first capsule to collect dust and small particles from a comet fly by mission and return them to Earth, but he vehicle used in the mission achieved the fastest speed of any object made by human beings.
Anyone with an interest in comets simply must read the information NASA has on its website about the Stardust mission. Click here: NASA’s Comet Tale Draws to a Successful Close in Utah Desert.
Deep Impact Success
July 4, 2005 – Read The Watch Project Manager Richard Haase’s letter to the New York Times regarding the success of Deep Impact’s rendezvous with Tempel I.
HR1022 (Near Earth Objects Survey Act)
June 25, 2005 – Recommended: Visit the NASA Ames Asteroid Comet and Impact Hazards web site for up to date info on pending legislation in Congress this year on HR1022 (Near Earth Objects Survey Act): http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/.
NASA’s Deep Impact Probe On It’s Way to Rendezvous with Comet Tempel I
January 11, 2005 – At 1:47 p.m. (EST) NASA launched the Deep Impact probe on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fl. The probe is equipped with a device which will spike comet Tempel I on July 4, 2005 and report back details about the comet’s composition.
It is hoped that this research will provide valuable information about the makeup of the comet class of Near Earth Objects which humans may want to mine at some time in the future.
Comets are believed to contain huge amounts of water ice which could possibly be tapped for use on future space missions, thus saving the expense of shipping water up from Earth. It is also to our advantage to learn as many details as possible about comets because one day we may have to contend with one which could be as serious as the one described in the motion picture Deep Impact.
Changes to Bill in Congress to Adequately Fund NEO Projects
July 16, 2004 – Please note that a member of Congressman Rohrabacher’s staff has advised us that the number of the bill in Congress to adequately fund efforts to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize Near Earth Objects has been changed from HR3813 to HR4544.
The bill, introduced in the House on February 11, 2004, by U. S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher was originally given the short title of, “The George R. Brown Near-Earth Objects Survey Act” with the number HR 3813. Because of a typographical error (“R.” instead of “E.”) the bill recently had to be renumbered. The new short title is, “The George E. Brown Near-Earth Objects Survey Act and the new number is HR 4544.”
Mr. Rohrabacher, a Republican, wanted to call attention to the bi-partisan nature of this bill by naming it after Mr. George E. Brown (a Democrat) who served many years on the House Science Committee.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, is now a co-sponsor of this bill and it is anticipated that other members of Congress from both parties, will soon sign on.
June 24, 2004 – Congratulations to Scaled Composites and SpaceShipOne for their recent historic flight which carried the first private astronaut into space, and to all the people involved with The X Prize, and all the other spacecraft in the competition.
Additional good news:
“The George Brown Near Earth Object Survey Act” HR3813 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R., CA) now has a Co-sponsor – Rep Jerrold Nadler (D., NY). The bill, HR3813, may have to be renamed and renumbered due to a typographical error in the “Short Title”. We will post the new name and number as soon as possible.
I have been told that the bi-partisan support will help ensure passage of this important bill, IF MORE OF YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN THE HOUSE ARE INFORMED AND BECOME CO-SPONSORS of this $20 million Authorization of Appropriations to adequately fund the efforts to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize near-earth asteroids and comets.
If your member of Congress would like more information about the importance and urgency of these NEO projects, I will be glad to meet with him or her in Washington. Our web site ( www.SpaceFrontierFoundation.org) can also provide a lot of the necessary information.
Many thanks for your anticipated help.
Project Manager, The Watch (The NEO Project of the Space Frontier Foundation)
2004 Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting the Earth from Asteroids
This conference was organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. and took place February 23 – February 26, 2004 in Garden Grove, California. Participants at the conference developed a list of recommendations that when implemented will help prevent our species from suffering the same fate as befell the dinosaurs. Topics included deflection options, mitigation projects and disaster preparedness. Missions were designed to deal with various Near Earth Object scenarios.
For more information about this event, please visit:
For a report on this conference by Andrew Bridges, Associated Press, please visit:
At Last! Near Earth Object Survey Act HR 3813 Introduced in Congress
February 12, 2004 – On February 11, 2004, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, (CA) introduced the “George R. Brown Near-Earth Object Survey Act ” in the House of Representatives. The purpose of the bill is to provide for “a Near-Earth Object survey program to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize certain near-earth asteroids and comets.” Full Story.
Great News – Hermes Rediscovered
October 24, 2003 – Dr. Brian Marsden, of the Minor Planet Center, said the rediscovery of Hermes is one of the most exciting events of the year. The asteroid has not been seen for almost six decades. Hermes is classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid because it passes so close to the Earth as it completes each orbit. However, it poses no immediate threat to the Earth. Hermes is also unusual in that it appears to be a binary. Each of the two objects are approximately 300 to 450 meters in diameter. Full Story.
Richard Haase and The Watch Helping to Prevent Collisions with Huge Near Earth Objects
October 23, 2003 – At the annual meeting of The Space Frontier Foundation in Los Angeles, CA, the Board of Directors picked Richard Haase to head The Watch, an international project to promote efforts to find, monitor and deflect near earth objects (comets and asteroids) in time to prevent collisions with our planet. Full Story.
The NEO Threat and Recommendations for Dealing with It – An Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects
July 8, 2003 – A distinguished group of Americans joined together today to send a remarkable letter to Congressional leaders about the danger our planet faces from near earth objects (NEOs). The letter was also sent to President Bush and his cabinet, the Secretary General of the United Nations and to leaders around the globe. To see the letter, click here. To see Biographical Information on the signers of the letter, click here. To download all of the information as a PDF file, click here.
Bill Atkins Visits Minor Planet Center
September 20, 2002 – Bill Adkins, Majority staff director of the Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science Committee, was taken for a visit by Marc Schlather of ProSpace to the Minor Planet Center in Boston. Atkins was very impressed but shocked by the small amount of monies that were available to pay for the MPC. This visit was a direct result of the Senate Asteroid Roundtable that was put together by Marc Schlather and Lee Valentine, along with help from The Watch, FINDS and Apogee Books.
UK NEO Taskforce Report
Click above to download the PDF Report of the September 2000 UK NEO Taskforce Report on Potentially Hazardous Near Earth Objects.