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June 28, 2006

Asteroid hunting telescope gets ready to save us all


This new telescope designed to spot potentially dangerous asteroids has taken its first test images. When it is upgraded with the world's largest camera in 2007, it will be able to find space rocks as small as a few hundred metres wide. Four of these 'scopes will be built in Hawaii. When they're all on line (in 2010) they'll scan the entire visible sky three times every month. There's a good news article about the telescopes in New Scientist magazine.

Of course, once we spot a space object about to smash into earth what we do about it is a completely different matter. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart gave a great talk on just that subject a couple of years ago (Did you know there is a substantial percentage of the population that wants an asteroid to hit the earth? Yow!). It was one of the many mind-expanding talks presented by the Long Now Foundation. There's audio of the talk on their seminar archive page (it's down near the bottom).

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at June 28, 2006 07:20 AM