It’s helpful to step away from some of the problems we’re dealing with on Earth and think BIG picture now and then. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab released this cool little video a few days ago about all known asteroids in the solar system. As our technology gets better these become more detectable. Obviously the goal is to detect a big one far enough in advance to do something about it. Some large ones are sometimes only detected very late that whiz by Earth rather close. Yet another reason we need to focus longer term on projects for life on new heavenly bodies.
In other asteroid news, China is planning a mission to find suitable asteroids to hunt and capture for mining. This is very cool future game changing stuff. Their goal is eventually to put it into an orbit around the Moon and mine the valuable metals and minerals.
Nasa announced a plan earlier this year to send two spacecraft to asteroids in 2021 and 2023.
The later mission will explore the asteroid 16 Psyche, which is 210km wide and probably a remnant from the core of an ancient planet no longer in existence.
The Chinese programme, however, is much more ambitious.
The plan is to capture an asteroid by landing and anchor a spacecraft on its surface, fire up multiple rocket boosters and project it into the orbit of the moon.
This is the kind of competition we need to propel us forward. This is good for everyone.