Images: Target practice on asteroids

Images: Target practice on asteroids

Summary: The possibility of a too-close encounter with Earth has spurred the European Space Agency into action.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • Don Quijote

    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.

  • The Don Quijote mission will send two probes to meet up with the chosen asteroid.

    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.

Topic: Tech Industry

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