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Can Tom, Sima, and Kojo stop the world being wiped out or will it be game over? Read more Read less. Book Description A journey into space turns from amazing adventure to asteroid attack!

About the Author Sue Graves has taught for thirty years in Cheshire schools. To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.

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See all free Kindle reading apps. Don't have a Kindle? No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Back to top. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Audible Download Audio Books. But there was also tangible progress. In , Congress ordered NASA to spot all near-Earth asteroids two-thirds of a mile in diameter and larger—the ones that scientists say could wipe out civilization—by Arriving in , the probe orbited for a year before controllers crashed it into Eros—but not before it sent back tens of thousands of detailed images of the mile-wide banana-shaped asteroid.

The Japanese got in the game too. In , the Japanese probe Hayabusa hovered a dozen miles away from a lumpy asteroid named Itokawa, then collected some material in anticipation of a return to Earth. Radio contact with the probe was lost for a while, however, and it is uncertain whether it will return to Earth. By , lawmakers in Washington asked NASA what it would take to be able to spot 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids more than feet in diameter by Astronomers say that incoming asteroids smaller than that would have a regional, rather than global, effect; ones that are less than about feet are likely to disintegrate in the atmosphere.

Asteroid Attack (Dangerous Games)

Finding smaller asteroids requires a whole new level of technology, and NASA is struggling to find ways to deliver the information Congress requested. Some astronomers have proposed a satellite orbiting near Venus that could easily spot asteroids that are hard to see from the ground. But NASA is in a budget crunch, so space-rock hunters are pinning their hopes on two earthbound projects.

Meanwhile, aided by pork-barrel money won by a Hawaiian senator, work is under way on Pan-STARRS, a set of telescopes to be sited on Mauna Kea that will cover most of the sky every few nights down to a dim 24th order of magnitude. When these telescopes see light within the next few years, the result will be dramatic.


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Fans of the TV series Stargate SG-1, the three astronomers named the asteroid after an alien intent on destroying Earth. Science fiction, however, quickly took a turn toward reality show. It was obvious this thing was coming close to Earth. On December 20, he placed the odds of a collision at 1 in 5, Three days later, with more data, those odds grew to 1 in The odds kept getting higher as he analyzed the trajectory more thoroughly.

By the day after Christmas—the day of the Indonesian tsunami—the odds reached an alarming 1 in The researchers quietly plotted the likely plane along which the asteroid would pass but did not release the information to the media. If that plane intersected Earth, then the impact area would lie somewhere along a narrow band crossing the North Atlantic, Europe, and southern Asia.

Dangerous Games

He and the handful of other scientists breathed a sigh of relief. But like every near-Earth asteroid, Apophis will keep orbiting, so the risk will not go away. Although the next pass has only a 1-in, chance of colliding, future encounters could pose a greater risk. Schweickart was deeply shaken by the Apophis experience. Since the first serious asteroid scare in , astronomers have pondered a multitude of ways to deflect an incoming rock.

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Some researchers suggest sending nuclear weapons, Hollywood-style, to blow up the asteroid; others propose a simple crash landing that would shove the body into a slightly new orbit. Another method would unfurl mirrors that would vaporize part of the rock. Two spacecraft—NEAR-Shoemaker and Hayabusa—have already played tag with asteroids, while another has experimented with shooting a projectile into a comet.

The European Space Agency recently took these ideas into a more concrete direction by releasing a concept for a spacecraft called Don Quixote that could push at an asteroid while another spacecraft called Sancho, of course hovers nearby to monitor any change in its orbit. The disadvantage is that the tug lacks muscle and could make only small adjustments to the orbit. The former astronaut has so far made little headway within NASA—which is focused instead on returning men to the moon—or even among many scientists who prefer to spend precious funds on asteroid detection.

So what would we have done if Apophis were on a collision course with Earth in ? If a city-busting rock were heading toward Iran, would the United States take the lead and spend billions of dollars to stop it? By nudging an asteroid off course, a probe would send it on a new trajectory. What if the probe could not complete the maneuver and shifted the threat elsewhere?

Such concerns led the ex-astronaut and Air Force pilot to tap members of an exclusive club he founded called the Association of Space Explorers—men and women who have, briefly, been near-Earth objects themselves. This January, the group wined and dined donors at a fund-raiser in Oakland, California, and they recently held a workshop in France, the first in a series to hash out a draft United Nations treaty to cope with the asteroid threat.

That attitude is bound to irritate a lot of space scientists. Amateur astronomers, long major players in ascertaining the exact orbits of asteroids, are likely to play less and less of a role as professionals turn their powerful telescopes to the objects once considered too mundane for academics to study at all. One way or another, astronomers say they intend to find every sizable rock that might be rushing at Earth. By , we should know whether we need to save ourselves from going the way of the dinosaurs.


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