Images: Sighting asteroids for target practice

Images: Sighting asteroids for target practice

Summary: The European Space Agency has named two potential targets for its asteroid-diverting program.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • In 2004, astronomers predicted a newly discovered asteroid, called MN4, was on a near collision course with Earth. Further studies showed an MN4-Earth catastrophe to be extemely remote.

    Still, the scare motivated the European Space Agency to launch the Don Quijote asteroid-deflecting project. The agency wants to try to deflect the orbit of an asteroid (either 2002 AT4 or 10302 1989 ML), with the target to be chosen in 2007.

  • This isn't the first such rendezvous with a fast-moving space rock. In July 2005, a NASA probe collided with comet Tempel 1 to get a better look at what it's made of.

  • One probe, Hidalgo, will crash into the asteroid while the other, Sancho, will orbit the rock for several months to monitor any changes.

Topic: Tech Industry

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