New Asteroid Threat Reported: Could UrtheCast Cameras Capture It?
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
It’s the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of: scientists announced this week that there’s an asteroid headed towards Earth… but don’t start building that backyard bunker just yet.
SPACE.com reported yesterday, Tuesday February 28, that a 460-foot-wide asteroid (named 2011 AG5) is scheduled to cross Earth’s orbit by the year 2040. The European Space Agency doesn’t consider this a ‘real threat’, but scientists are keeping an eye on this enormous space rock, in the event that the situation should come to blows.
Threats and bunkers aside, what if you could get a closer look at an asteroid, or any other celestial body? What if we reversed the HD video cameras that we’re mounting to the International Space Station? We’d have what would essentially be a telescope in space.
These are precisely the types of questions that UrtheCast is posing now that our cameras are nearing completion.
Back to the Rock
Clearly, all concerns of asteroid impact have not been swayed, as researchers are calling for discussions on how to divert the giant rock.
Early reports indicate there’s a 1-in-625 chance that impact will occur… we don’t like them odds.
However, as Donald Yeomans, Program Head at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told SPACE.com: “The prudent course of action is then to wait at least until the 2013 observations are processed before making any preliminary plans for a potential deflection mission,” Yeomans says. He also added that these frightening odds are expected to decrease in the coming years.
Want to see for yourself?
When UrtheCast powers up the cameras this year, we hope to get views of not only Earth, but of other celestial bodies as well.
Thanks to Mother Nature, certain conditions won’t allow us to retrieve video data — under heavy cloud cover for instance. During these blackout periods, UrtheCast intends to help you get an interactive view of the solar system from the ISS by turning the cameras back into space for a better look at our solar system.
In the case of the 2011 AG5 asteroid, we hope it’s not a particularly close view.
Want to learn more about the UrtheCast cameras and how we’re testing them for space flight? Check out all the details, here.