[FPSPACE] Could Venus watch for Earth-bound asteroids?
ljk4 at msn.com
Mon Mar 12 09:27:21 EST 2007
Could Venus watch for Earth-bound asteroids?
17:25 09 March 2007
NewScientist.com news service
David L Chandler
A dedicated space-based telescope is needed to achieve a congressionally
mandated goal of discovering 90% of all near-Earth asteroids down to a size
of 140 metres by the year 2020, says a report NASA sent to the US Congress
on Thursday. Asteroids of that size are large enough to destroy a major city
or region if they strike the planet but NASA says it does not have the
money to pay for the project.
The study says Venus is the best place for the telescope. That is because
space rocks within Earth's orbit where Venus lies are most likely to be
lost in the Sun's glare, potentially catching astronomers off guard. The
telescope could be placed either behind or ahead of Venus in its orbit by
about 60° the stable Lagrange points, known as L4 or L5, where the gravity
of the Sun and Venus are in balance.
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