An asteroid (Photo Courtesy: AFP Photo)
NASA has been flooded with more than 400 suggestions on how to find asteroids that are on a collision course with Earth. Some suggestions were there to help relocate a small asteroid orbiting a moon for future study.
The ideas came in response to a June 18 solicitation intended to reach beyond the aerospace industry for partnerships on two asteroid exploration initiatives which are being planned, Discovery News reported.
The first project called ‘Grand Challenge,’ is to find potentially dangerous asteroids that come close to Earth.
The space agency till now has been able to discover nearly 95 percent of the near-Earth asteroids, which are1 km or larger in diameter.
However, finding smaller, but still potentially dangerous asteroids has turned out to be a more difficult undertaking.
Jason Kessler, who oversees NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge Program, said at a webcast Space Frontier Foundation conference in San Jose, California, this week that there are potentially about 1 million smaller, potentially dangerous asteroids in the space and the space agency had no clue as to where they were located.
About 33 percent of the proposals that NASA got are focused on finding potentially dangerous asteroids while others were to help send a robotic probe to capture and relocate a small asteroid into an orbit around the moon. US astronauts then would visit it on a follow-on mission.