We just enjoyed the June “super moon” with binoculars. You should do this, studying the craters, visualizing similar asteroid impacts on our spaceship Earth. There are roughly ten million asteroids in earth's orbit, but we have not mapped them. Therefore we are just a target in the shooting gallery. If we know we are the address of a kilometer-wide package to be delivered on 5 July, 2050 we can arrange “non delivery” by shifting the arrival time plus or minus 3 minutes. We know how to do that, given enough notice.
We also know how to map those 10,000,000 dangerous rocks. Once mapped, then we can deflect and defend. How big a project is it to map the asteroids? Well, San Francisco citizens raised over $500 million to upgrade the Museum of Modern Art.
That is enough to Save the Earth! That is the budget of the Sentinel Project of the B612 Foundation. These are “just do it” people who have decided this is too important to leave to governments. Sentinel is underway, and you can help. Donate!
On June 28, 2012, the Foundation announced its plans to build and operate the first privately funded, launched, and operated interplanetary mission – an infrared space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun to discover, map, and track asteroids whose orbits approach Earth and threaten humanity.
“We’ve been given a gift, and the gift is that we have the ability now to go out there and actually do something which positively affects the future of humanity on Earth.” Dr. Ed Lu, B612 Foundation Chairman & CEO
The Sentinel Mission will provide a unique opportunity for the public to take ownership in a historic space mission that will protect Earth, while providing the necessary roadmap for future exploration.
Sentinel is a space-based infrared (IR) survey mission to discover and catalog 90 percent of the asteroids larger than 140 meters in Earth’s region of the solar system. The mission should also discover a significant number of smaller asteroids down to a diameter of 30 meters. Sentinel will be launched into a Venus-like orbit around the sun, which significantly improves the efficiency of asteroid discovery during its 6.5 year mission.
The spacecraft and instrument use high-heritage flight proven deep space systems, originally developed by NASA, to minimize technical and programmatic risks. These heritage missions include large space-based telescopes (Spitzer, Kepler), a large format camera made up of many individual detectors (Kepler), and a cryogenically cooled instrument (Spitzer). By detective and tracking nearly all of the Near Earth Objects greater than 50 meters in diameter, Sentinel will create a map of the solar system in Earth’s neighborhood enabling future robotic and manned exploration. The Sentinel data will also identify objects that are potentially hazardous to humans to provide an early warning to protect the Earth from impact.
Cycling near Palo Alto I listened to Ed Lu's B612 recent lecture at the Long Now Foundation. I'm looking forward to the release of the full video so I can see all of Ed's graphics.