The near-miss came when an astronomical space-rock hurled 0.19 lunar distances from the earth, only inches. NASA finally identified the asteroid, but it was disclosed that it was almost straight to the planet, leading to mass extinction.
The asteroid, known as “2019 OK,” has been revealed to have an area of football that is estimated to be within 48,000 miles of earth.
NASA was notified only 24 hours before the arrival of asteroids. A small telescope in Brazil was used by the space agency to detect the partly unseen asteroid.
The almost miss has stimulated discussions and speculation on NASA’s evident need for fresh and better telescopes to respond to the growing threat of space rocks.
Earlier this week the US space agency thought about building a state-of-the-art infrared telescope to deal with the issue of “unseen” asteroids.
According to Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate scientific administrator, the new defense scheme could become operational in the next 10 years.
Known as the Near-Earth Project Surveillance mission, it will cost $500 million to build, together with calibration and engineering logistics, up to $600 million.
However, the telescope is not that new to NASA and its employees, suggested some 15 years ago.
This telescope is crucial for meeting congressional requirements, initially suggested at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California, that NASA detect 90 percent of all potentially dangerous asteroids and comets of at least 140 meters in diameter by the end of 2020.
Mark Sykes, CEO of Tucson’s Planetary Science Institute, Arizona, explains that although the telescope will inevitably end with another name given the length of time it will take to build.
He said: “There is no fresh spacecraft or operational design here, autonomous or. However, because NASA estimates that the telescope will be built in the next 10 years, the organization will therefore not fulfill the congress requirement by 2020.”
But in conjunction with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a ground-based installation being constructed in Chile, an infrared telescope prospect will ramp up Earth’s asteroid defenses and make the current objectives a reality.
And the mission, as infrared researchers say, will probably not be abandoned or backlogged, because the past decades have shown that dark asteroids–almost invisible to light–stand out in infrared, more abundant than once thought.
“There are many really dark asteroids out there, which drive the need for the infrared system,” said Jay Melosh, a Purdue University planetary scientist. The telescope could demand an increase to NASA’s ‘ current annual budget of $150 million (£ 120 million) to planetary defense systems.
Most funds go towards the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which was built by the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University.
Completed by 2021, DART seeks to test the ability to deflect an asteroid’s path against destruction.
It is unclear whether the US congressional congress owners will follow NASA’s lead-it is not clear whether the US Congress will approve infrared telescopic funding.
Although funding is a major issue in the promotion of the Agency’s defense systems, the mission is a developmental step towards NASA’s proposal from external groups and its adaptation to its internal work.