Random Thoughts: Asteroids and Money-Mouth Co-location

With yesterday’s meteorite impact in Russia, I’ve seen several clever tweets featuring this clever picture:
Asteroids

But to me, meteor impacts today are nature’s way of asking “Have you thought about donating to the B612 Foundation’s Sentinel Mission lately?” Most serious students of NEOs have suggested that a space-based IR telescope like Sentinel is the key to really understanding what’s out there in our planetary backyard, which is the first real step towards actually being able to predict and potentially do something about asteroids like the one that hit Russia yesterday.

And unlike signing a petition on WhiteHouse.gov asking for the government to raise everyone’s taxes (or run up the credit card) to give NASA a bigger budget, or making clever tweets on the internet, donating to the B612 Foundation actually has some probability of making a difference as far as planetary protection goes. Sure it will actually cost you more than a few seconds of your time, but it would definitely be a good way to put a little money where your mouth is if you really care about planetary protection.

I don’t have a lot of cash, but I think I’m going to skip lunches next week so I can at least chip in the minimum donation.

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5 Responses to Random Thoughts: Asteroids and Money-Mouth Co-location

  1. Chris (Robotbeat) says:

    I think this is partially aimed at me, since I retweeted this twice and make a lot of stink about appropriate gov’t investments (in things like NASA). I may also contribute. But regardless, planetary defense is just about the biggest collective-action problem there is. And whether it comes to calling for NASA support, NASA reform, or contributing to efforts like B612, space advocates should not do what they normally do and poo-poo the public while the public actually cares. Propose positive solutions instead of complaining about whatever (talking to myself there a little, too). And for that reason, I applaud this post of yours.

    -Chris

  2. Jonathan Goff says:

    Chris,
    Actually it was aimed at Neil deGrasse Tyson, not you. :-)

    ~Jon

  3. ken anthony says:

    Notice the space ship is getting out of Dodge! Even they don’t think we will nudge rocks any time soon. But before you can nudge them, ya gotta find ‘em. Good post. I will link to it to help spread the meme.

  4. Chris (Robotbeat) says:

    If NASA is serious about building public support for an asteroid mission, they should strongly consider including the ability for gravity-tractor demonstration in the SEP tug. I know that conflicting constraints always increase costs, but a deep-space HSF architecture built around SEP and depots would also make a helluva on-hand and well-tested asteroid deflection system. Of course, if you want to deflect an asteroid instead of study it or visit it, there’s no reason to have it manned, but a gravity-tractor would benefit significantly from being of the scale (both power-wise and mass-wise) that a deep-space transit vehicle would be.

    Such an architecture would be useful for cislunar, NEO, and Mars HSF missions, wouldn’t require a NASA-built HLV (or any HLV, for that matter), and would encourage reuse of the hardware elements and benefit from commercialized logistics. (I’m referring to the Boeing SEP architecture.) We want to test this stuff out anyway, we want to do deep-space HSF anyway (starting out with slightly more modest missions before pursuing Mars). Being able to put a lot of mass on target is something common to both HSF and deflecting large NEOs.

  5. ken anthony says:

    starting out with slightly more modest missions before pursuing Mars

    Absolutely you must have shakedown cruises around the moon before taking humans on a six to nine month mission anywhere.

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