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One such project is the B612 Foundation's development of a new space telescope that will be placed in orbit around the sun. According to the B612 Foundation's website, the telescope will provide a map of "current and future locations and trajectories of these Earth crossing asteroids." The company estimates that the map will account for more than 98 percent of discoveries of asteroids coming near Earth. A launch of the telescope is expected by 2018.
Another potentially beneficial project is the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS). Developed by astronomers from the University of Hawaii, the ATLAS involves eight telescopes scanning the sky for nearby rocks from outer space two times each night. The ATLAS will allow a one-week warning for an asteroid 50 meters in diameter, able to destroy a city, and a three-week warning for an asteroid 150 meters in diameter, able destroy a country.
These detection systems are not cheap, however. The development of the ATLAS has already required a five million dollar grant from NASA and the B612 Foundation needs to raise 450 million dollars in order to realize its space telescope idea. However, such ideas might be the key to detecting the next major asteroid or meteor, and detection is pivotal for being able to ultimately dodge the impact of such blasts. The government needs to decide whether the potential to save countless lives is worth the money.
Urvi Banerjee. More »