Watching the Worldwide Asteroid Tracking System Work by Danica Remy
Asteroid 2018 LA hit the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Botswana this past weekend, and for only the third time an impact was predicted ahead of time.
Our planet’s asteroid tracking and early warning system working together were able to detect this asteroid and determine it was on a course to impact Earth. Because of the quick-alert systems now in place, astronomers were able to assess the object shortly after discovery and determine its earth impacting trajectory. Sky & Telescope did a good job of pulling the whole story together.
We applaud NASA’s investment in the Catalina Sky Survey, ATLAS, JPL’s SCOUT system and other telescopes and are pleased to see progress in the field of planetary defense. You can read a step by step account of how everyone worked together here from the website of the JPL Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) which is supported by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. As well, you can find more about asteroid 2018 LA here at the website of the European Space Agency (ESA) NEO Coordination Centre.
At B612 we continue our work to find, track and detect asteroids through science and technology investments to build an open and interactive map of the asteroids in our solar system so we can predict asteroids arrivals years in advance. It will take institutions working together with support from individuals, foundations, and governments to build this map. Join us.