NSS PAN Alert June 7, 2022
Near Earth Object Surveyor Mission (NEOSM)
Some years ago an asteroid streaked through the sky above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. An intense pulse of light drew people to their windows just in time for the blast wave to pepper them with broken glass. There was no chance to detect this asteroid before it was about to hit. NEOSM (Near Earth Object Surveyor Mission), a half meter infrared telescope under development by NASA may well have detected it in time to warn the people of Chelyabinsk but NEOSM’s budget has been slashed by tens of millions of dollars which will postpone launch by many years. About one-million asteroids bigger than the Chelyabinsk objects cross Earth’s orbit and we don’t know where they are.
If we do nothing, about 20,000 of these objects will eventually hit us. Some of those objects are big enough to destroy whole countries. We don’t have to be sitting ducks. Contact your Congressional representatives today and tell them that this is a disaster we can avoid and it is monumentally stupid to not to. Tell them to restore full funding for NEOSM.
This image of a vapor trail was captured about 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the Chelyabinsk meteor event, about one minute after the house-sized asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere. Caption: NASA. Image credit: Alex Alishevskikh.