NASA on Tuesday issued a Grand Challenge to the scientific community at large, asking members to help the organization find asteroids that could potentially collide with Earth. Being that space is, you know, pretty big, it’s difficult to keep an eye on every single rock in the vicinity of our planet. So more eyes to the sky means better coverage. That, in theory, could mean less unexpected meteors violently streaking across the sky.
The challenge is part of a bigger partnership with other government and international agencies that aims to detect and characterize asteroids, and then figure out what to do about such threats. Additionally, the information will be used to help NASA, which says has mapped around 95 percent of the large asteroids near Earth’s orbit, on its journey to eventually redirect one of the space rocks and send humans to study it.
“This Grand Challenge is focused on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats,” NASA wrote on Tuesday. “We will also harness public engagement, open innovation and citizen science to help solve this global problem.” Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, applauded NASA, and said initiatives like these are an all-hands-on-deck effort.
In addition to the large-scale challenge, NASA is also inviting participants to offer ideas on how to better locate, redirect and explore an asteroid. I’d say ask Michael Bay, or Bruce Willis. But I believe NASA is looking for individuals with a more scientific background.