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Saturday June 30, 2012

First Private Deep Space Mission Will Search for Asteroids

You may not have been aware, but two weeks ago a kilometer-wide asteroid flew close to Earth undetected until it was only several days away. The B612 Foundation response to the near miss is Sentinel, an infrared telescope designed to spot asteroids while they are still in deep space.

The problem is that no comprehensive effort like Sentinel has ever been made to map every Near-Earth Asteroid. Asteroid velocities are tens of thousands of miles per hour, so by the time we spot one, it's generally too near for us to do anything but calculate the orbit and hope we'll live.

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