Asteroids can and do strike Earth.
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Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1-600 kilotons – all caused not by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts.
These findings were recently released from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which operates the network.
To put this data in perspective, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with an energy impact of 15 kilotons. While most of these asteroids exploded too high in the atmosphere to do serious damage on the ground, the evidence is important in estimating the frequency of a potential “city-killer-size” asteroid.
NOVA’s Asteroids: Doomsday or Payday? B612 Foundation’s Ed Lu and Rusty Schweickart, and Sentinel Program Manager John Troeltzsch give in-depth insights into the asteroid challenge and how we can solve it with Sentinel.
In partnership with Ball Aerospace, the B612 Foundation will build, launch, and operate an infrared space telescope to find and track the hundreds of thousands of threatening asteroids that cannot be tracked with current telescopes.
In October 2001, a group of like-minded scientists informally convened at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. And with it began perhaps the biggest environmental project was first imagined.
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