This Friday, an asteroid nearly three kilometers wide is going to pass by the Earth-Moon system. The fly-by is harmless — at its closest, the asteroid will be about 15 times farther from us than the Earth is from the Moon — but to mark the event, the White House will host the second in a series of "We the Geeks" Google+ Hangouts to talk asteroids with Bill Nye the Science Guy, former astronaut Ed Lu, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, and more.
The President’s new budget calls for increased efforts by NASA to detect and mitigate potentially hazardous asteroids, and NASA is studying a robotic mission to capture and bring a small asteroid into a stable orbit just beyond the Moon. Those efforts could eventually lead to a crewed mission to rendezvous with and return samples from the redirected asteroid.
Earlier this year, a meteor explosion high over Russia — and a flyby the same day of an asteroid three times larger — have increased our awareness of these objects. Let’s find the asteroids before they find us, and in the process learn more about the secrets of the Solar System and other potential opportunities these space rocks present.
On Friday, May 31st at 2pm EDT, the White House will host a “We The Geeks” Google+ Hangout on asteroids. During a conversation moderated by OSTP's Cristin Dorgelo, we’ll be talking about asteroid identification, characterization, resource utilization, and hazard mitigation with:
- Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator, NASA
- Bill Nye, Executive Director, Planetary Society
- Ed Lu, former astronaut and CEO, B612 Foundation
- Peter Diamandis, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources
- Jose Luis Galache, Astronomer at the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center
Watch the latest "We the Geeks" Hangout live on WhiteHouse.gov and on the White House Google+ page on Friday, May 31st at 2pm EDT. Got questions and comments? Use the hashtag #WeTheGeeks on Twitter and on Google+ and we'll answer some during the live Hangout.
Phil Larson is a Policy Advisor for Space and Aeronautics at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.