Non-Profit’s Private Space Telescope to Hunt Dangerous Asteroids in 2017


April 15, 2013

With the dangers of rogue asteroids made clear by the surprise explosion of a meteor over Russia in February, a non-profit organization is ramping up its effort to search for potentially hazardous space rocks near Earth.

The B612 Foundation was started in 2002 by former NASA astronauts Ed Lu and Rusty Schweickart with colleagues. The organization aims to launch a space telescope called Sentinel in 2017 to catalog near-Earth asteroids, including those that may pose a danger to Earth.

To date, about 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids large enough to destroy the entire planet (about 1 kilometer, or 0.6 miles wide) have been discovered, but far fewer of the smaller, city-killing size (roughly 140 meters, or 460 feet, in diameter) have been found.