The United States is on the verge of making a profound strategic mistake. The nation is preparing to spend $85 billion replacing working nuclear-armed Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles with a new “Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.” Like the old missiles, the new arsenal will consist of silo-based rockets with nuclear warheads.
Luck is not a plan. Yet up to now Congressional appropriators and senior NASA officials are mostly relying on luck to keep us safe from catastrophic fatalities resulting from the surprise impact of an unseen asteroid.
A year and a half after ministers declined to fund one mission to an asteroid, the European Space Agency is working on a second such mission that could support planetary defense efforts.
The B612 Foundation, which once sought to privately develop a large space observatory to search for potentially hazardous near Earth objects (NEOs), is now studying an alternative approach that uses much smaller spacecraft.
Few events at the NASA Ames Research Center draw the crowd that greeted Luxembourg’s royal delegation April 12. The Grand Duchy’s prince, princess and deputy prime minister met with NASA officials, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors to discuss Luxembourg’s campaign to harvest valuable materials from asteroids, moons or planets.
Plans to continue a NASA mission to intercept a small asteroid will depend on a decision due by the end of April on NASA’s 2017 budget, an agency official said March 20.
NASA has selected two missions to asteroids in the latest round of its Discovery planetary science program, a move that NASA says puts the program back on track after a recent drought of missions.
Scientists involved with a proposed NASA mission to a near Earth asteroid say their work is not affected, for now, by a decision by the European Space Agency earlier this month not to fund a companion spacecraft
Deep Space Industries plans to launch a small satellite by the end of the decade to survey a near Earth asteroid, the next major step in the company’s long-term ambitions to mine asteroids for resources.
Planetary Resources, a company with long-term plans to perform asteroid mining, announced May 26 it has raised $21.1 million to develop a satellite system for Earth observation.
A report released by NASA Feb. 18 found no scientific showstoppers for the agency’s planned Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), but suggested a precursor mission to the selected asteroid could improve the odds of success.
Language in a new commercial space law that grants companies rights to resources they extract from asteroids and other solar system bodies provides them with some certainty, but they acknowledge that the law is likely not the last word on the issue.
Should a proposed probe to a metallic asteroid win NASA funding next year, Space Systems/Loral will provide the spacecraft structure and propulsion system.