Wednesday, May 22, 2013

European alert system for dangerous asteroids opened - Heise Newsticker

European scientists want to discover hazardous asteroids faster and render them harmless to the Earth from a possible collision. In Frascati, south of Rome, the European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday opened a new “Coordination Center for Near Earth Objects”. Here, all data and information will be collected in the future to asteroids whose orbit is close to the earth. As threats to be detected from space before. Modern telescope technology with new sensors according to the ESA can help to warn by constant observation of the sky currently unknown larger objects.

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representation of a near-Earth asteroid  enlarge
Image: ESA – P.Carril Near-Earth Objects (Near Earth Objects – NEOs) are asteroids or comet with a diameter of a few meters to tens of kilometers, whose orbits around the Sun near the Earth. Of the more than 600,000 known asteroids in our solar system are nearly 10,000 “earthy”. To the ESA ESRIN center in the mountains near Rome, the scientists want to “offer in near-real time” data on such celestial bodies in order to have enough time in case of imminent danger to distract an oncoming asteroid. Only in February about 1500 peopl e were injured in a meteorite impact in Russia. A larger asteroid would contrast but can wreak tremendous harm on earth.

Former German astronaut Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of today human space flight and operation, agreed at the opening of the new center on the “detect threats from space” field. “We combine the existing structures and systems, evaluate mainly the important data from the University of Pisa,” said project leader Detlef Koschny. For the rapid detection of asteroids, especially a new telescope to be used, which constantly scans the solar system with a very wide spectrum. Ten million euros are scheduled to build the “Survey Telescope” by 2016.

If an approaching asteroid in time, ie detected years before a possible collision, then you can grab precautions. You could have him checked by a spacecraft to collide and thus diverted from its dangerous course. As a last resort, experts will discuss the use of an atomic bomb – the asteroid with a nuclear explosion in space hold of his way to Earth. How many meteorites have been observed in human history, the designer Carlo Zapponi has recently visualized. ( With material of dpa ) / (mho)

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