This asteroid came at a near-miss, at just 0.19 lunar distances from Earth. In astronomical terms, this means just inches. NASA detected the asteroid, but they did it only after it near-missed the planet. This happened, and we would be dead – we are talking mass extinction here.
It was first said by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) from California: this kind of telescopes are essential for meeting the requirements of finding 90% of all the possible dangerous asteroids – even comets – that have at least 140 meters in diameter. They are indispensable, and they want to make it possible by 2020.
This kind of telescope would have another name, clearly, since it will take a lot of time to be built. This comes from the CEO of Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Mark Sykes. He proceeded to explain that the mission will always be the same. Apparently, there is no new spacecraft, not even an operational design. The mission is entirely NEOCam.
NASA thinks that the construction of the telescope will take ten years, so the space agency will not meet the requirements until at least 2020. The mix of the infrared telescope, with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope – which is a facility that’s currently being built in Chile, will find out faster the asteroids and make the dreams come true. They don’t believe they will give up the plan, because the researchers believe it is crucial, mainly because of all the almost invisible asteroids. They could stand out in the infrared light.
From Purdue University, Jay Melosh says that there are many dark asteroids out there, and this is why we need the infrared system. This telescope is quite expensive so that it could increase the annual budget for the planetary defense systems from the current $150million.
Ethelene is the main editor on DualDove, she likes to write on the latest science news.