Monday July 16, 2018
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Warning! Growing Risk of Asteroids Hitting the Earth

A group of scientists has warned of the growing risk of a sizeable asteroid hitting the Earth

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Taurids meteor shower lights up the sky. The risk of asteroids hitting the Earth has grown over the years. Wikimedia
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  • Scientists have warned about the growing risk of Asteroids hitting the Earth
  • The warning comes from Czech scientists who analyzed a recent meteor shower with 144 fireballs
  • The meteor shower, known as Taurid, has shown greater activity since 2015

What are the Taurids?

The Taurids, associated with comet Encke, are an annual meteor shower known for lighting up the skies every November. Scientists and Astronomers from Czech Academy of Sciences analyzed the Taurids and its 144 fireballs (meteors that explode in the atmosphere) have concluded their study after observing a new branch with two asteroid measuring 200-300 meters in diameter. It has a well-defined orbital structure. The risk of asteroids hitting the Earth has grown.

What does it mean?

It means that there are numerous asteroids with even larger diameter present but yet undiscovered. Every few years the Earth encounters the branches of Taurids for a period of three weeks. Addition/ Formation of new branches indicates a growing risk of an asteroid collision with Earth.

The study says that the fragments could collide with the Earth in 2022, 2025, 2032 and 2039 during the Annual Meteor Shower (November time). The asteroids are otherwise fragile, but the large ones possess the ability to penetrate deep into the atmosphere.

Interestingly, this is not the first time we have been warned about the Taurid meteors. A hypothesis says that they were also part of the ancient collisions that led our planet into an ice age.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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NASA Funding Project RAMA To Turn Asteroids Into Spaceships

Project RAMA could also have applications here on Earth, Dunn added, saying that machines similar to Seed Craft could do a variety of jobs around the planet

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The Primetime Emmys will be awarded by the ATAS in Los Angeles on September 17.
The Primetime Emmys will be awarded by the ATAS in Los Angeles on September 17. Flickr

NASA has recently announced it would give funds to a California-based 3D printing company for finding ways to turn asteroids into giant, autonomous spacecraft, which could fly to outposts in space, the media reported.

Made In Space’s project, known as RAMA (Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata), could one day enable space colonization by helping make off-Earth manufacturing efficient and economically viable, Space.com reported.

The company plans to use 3D printing to turn the asteroids into self-flying vehicles by 2030.

The concept received funding through NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which will provide $100,000 for feasibility studies.

“Today, we have the ability to bring resources from Earth,” Jason Dunn, Made In Space co-founder and chief technology officer, was quoted as saying.

“But when we get to a tipping point where we need the resources in space, then the question becomes, ‘Where do they come from and how do we get them, and how do we deliver them to the location that we need?’ This is a way to do it,” he said.

The company is considering sending an advanced robotic “Seed Craft” out to rendezvous with a succession of near-Earth asteroids in space, as part of its long-term project.

The concept received funding through NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which will provide $100,000 for feasibility studies.
The concept received funding through NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which will provide $100,000 for feasibility studies. Pixabay

The Seed Craft would harvest material from the space rocks, then use this feedstock to construct propulsion, navigation, energy-storage and other key systems onsite with the aid of 3D printing and other technologies.

Thus transformed into autonomous spacecraft, the asteroids could be programmed to fly to a mining station in Earth-moon space, or anywhere else they’re needed.

This approach would be much more efficient than launching a new capture probe (or probes) to every single space rock targeted for resource exploitation, the report said.

However, since RAMA is still in the very early stages, Dunn estimated that the effort might require 20 years and the first Seed Craft may get off the ground in the late 2030s.

Also Read: NASA Readies Probe to Touch the Sun With ‘Cutting-Edge Heat Shield’

Project RAMA could also have applications here on Earth, Dunn added, saying that machines similar to Seed Craft could do a variety of jobs around the planet.

“You could build infrastructure in remote locations somewhat autonomously, and convert resources into useful devices and mechanical machines. This actually could solve some pretty big problems on Earth, from housing to construction of things that make people’s lives better,” he said. (IANS)