14 May 2011

Planetary Defense Conference

Bruce Betts reports from the Planetary Defense Conference in Romania

75% of one-kilometer-diameter asteroids have been discovered and 85% of those larger than a kilometer, a total of 914 objects as of May 1, 2011. About 25% of Apophis-size (about 300 meter) asteroids have been found, and smaller percentages of smaller-sized ones. 
IR astronomy and was used in part to find NEOs -- and it sure was successful. From a non-optimized orbit, NEO-WISE, as they called the NEO part of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, discovered 132 near Earth asteroids.

Anders Sandberg on Mitigating Asteroid Risk

A Space-Based Near-Earth Object Survey Telescope in Support of Human Exploration, Solar System Science, and Planetary Defense

Find out more here:

Another Step Closer to Terra-forming Mars

From: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=mro-co2-ice&sc=emailfriend
Radar soundings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have identified huge dry ice deposits under the Red Planet's surface totaling roughly 10,000 cubic kilometers. ..More importantly to planetary scientists, that dry ice—solid carbon dioxide—is enough to change the climate of Mars. If all that CO2 were released as gas, as it may well have been in the past, it would nearly double the mass of the Martian atmosphere, increasing pressures across the planet and making Mars more hospitable to patches of liquidwater.