A nonprofit research organization is launching a large-scale fundraising campaign to finance a space telescope to search out and map the locations of asteroids on a potential collision course with Earth, MSNBC and Reuters report.
The B612 Foundation — named for the asteroid that is home to the title character of the children’s book The Little Prince — announced on Thursday an effort to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to launch and operate the telescope aboard a privately funded spacecraft. Ed Lu, the foundation’s CEO and a former NASA astronaut, said he was “confident we can do this.”
The goal of the project is to identify and track the orbits of a half-million asteroids that are on course to approach the Earth over the next 5 1/2 years.
“We feel a certain urgency to get on with it so that we can be confident that we’re not going to have a cosmic disaster here for no good, justifiable reason, just because we didn’t get with it,” said Rusty Schweickart, a former B612 chairman and Apollo astronaut.