NASA Announces New ATLAS Telescopes

Daniel de Zeeuw

August 21, 2018

NASA recently announced it is supporting the building of two additional ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) telescopes to be built in the Southern hemisphere.

This is good news as it will fill in the gaps since there are regions in the southern sky currently not being monitored by ATLAS. The ATLAS system is designed to monitor for asteroids that have not yet been tracked, and to find them days or potentially even weeks before they hit the Earth.

While this is not enough time to do anything to prevent such impacts, it could in some cases offer enough time to evacuate areas should the need arise. Such a system is certainly needed until such time as we have a complete survey of potentially threatening asteroids in our solar system, in which case we will know years or even decades in advance of asteroid impacts, giving us time to actually nudge asteroids to prevent their impacting the Earth.

Daniel de Zeeuw