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NASA Issues Grand Challenge, Calls for Public, Scientific Help in Tracking Threatening Asteroids

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An asteroid approaching Earth.

Two new NASA programs seek help in identifying, tracking, and possibly altering the direction of asteroids headed for Earth.

Credit: PC Magazine

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced two programs that call on scientists and organizations around the world to help spot, track, and possibly alter the direction of asteroids headed for Earth.

One of the programs is part of NASA's Grand Challenges series, in which it calls on the public to develop unique solutions to difficult problems. This large-scale project will focus on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats, according to NASA. The challenge will include a variety of partnerships with other governmental agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists.

NASA also put out a request for information (RFI) that invites industry and potential partners to offer ideas on accomplishing NASA's goal to locate, redirect, and explore an asteroid. NASA is seeking information for system concepts and innovative approaches for the agency's Asteroid Program, which involves redirecting an asteroid and placing it near the moon for study. The RFI is specifically looking for input on asteroid observation, asteroid redirection systems, integrated-sensing systems, refinements of the Asteroid Redirect Mission, applications of satellite-servicing technology, asteroid deflection demonstrations, asteroid-capture systems, and crew systems for asteroid exploration.

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