Are You Worried Earth Will be Slammed by a Meteor?
Did a massive meteor cause the extinction of the Dinosaurs? Could such an impact cause our extinction? There are a lot of large objects in space, and they are all on the move. How can we know if one is heading our way? NASA tracks these objects, and those which might travel near Earth are tracked carefully.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is introducing a new Web site that will provide a centralized resource for information on these near-Earth objects - those asteroids and comets that can approach Earth. The "Asteroid Watch" site also contains links for the interested public to sign up for NASA's new asteroid widget and Twitter account.
"Most people have a fascination with near-Earth objects," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL. "And I have to agree with them. I have studied them for over three decades and I find them to be scientifically fascinating, and a few are potentially hazardous to Earth. The goal of our Web site is to provide the public with the most up-to-date and accurate information on these intriguing objects."
It provides information on NASA's missions to study comets, asteroids and near-Earth objects, and also provides the basic facts and the very latest in science and research on these objects. News about near-Earth object discoveries and Earth flybys will be available and made accessible on the site via a downloadable widget and RSS feed.
And for those who want to learn about their space rocks on the go, a Twitter feed is offered. "Asteroid Watch" also contains a link to JPL's more technical Near-Earth Objects Web site, where many scientists and researchers studying near-Earth objects go for information.
"This innovative new Web application gives the public an unprecedented look at what's going on in near-Earth space," said Lindley Johnson, program executive for the Near-Earth Objects Observation program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
NASA supports surveys that detect and track asteroids and comets passing close to Earth. The Near-Earth Object Observation Program, commonly called "Spaceguard," also plots the orbits of these objects to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.
The new Asteroid Watch site is online at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch.