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Near Earth asteroids have already been found.
Sep 10, 2003 Five years ago NASA began a program to discover 90% of potential Earth-crossing asteroids larger than 1 km. 60% of the 1,000 to 1,200 large Near Earth asteroids have already been found, and the search should be complete by 2008. But objects below 1 km can still be devastating, so NASA is proposing a new survey to track hundreds of thousands of these smaller objects. The new report proposes that NASA spend $236 million over the course of 20 years to find 90% of these smaller, but still devastating, objects. Another option would be to build a space-based tracking system which would increase the cost to $397 million but cut the search time down to just seven years.
Sep 10, 2003 Weather forecasters are turning to data from a fleet of satellites to help predict how conditions might turn into hurricanes that could ravage the coastal areas of Eastern North America. Tropical storms typically appear off the coast of Africa from June to November; some of these will turn into hurricanes depending on many factors. satellites can now spot many of the warning signs, including a sea surface temperature of at least 27.8 degrees Celsius, rotating winds above the ocean, air temperature, humidity, and finally rainfall intensity.
Sep 10, 2003 NASA announced today that it has selected a beryllium-based mirror technology for the 6.5 mirror on the James Webb Space telescope - the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The primary mirror will actually be made up of 18 hexagonal-shaped segments, giving it 2.5 times more surface area than Hubble's mirror; but it will be one-third the weight. Construction of the mirror will begin next year, and the telescope is expected to launch some time after 2011.
Sep 10, 2003 New research indicates that electrons may surf on magnetic waves driven by the solar wind, and get accelerated to the point they can cause some serious damage to spacecraft orbiting the Earth. The process is a result of the interaction between the Earth's magnetic field and fluctuations in the density of the solar wind. As the density of the solar wind changes, it causes waves in the magnetic field to ripple back to the Earth. Electrons can be caught in these ripples and surf back to the Earth so fast they can damage delicate electronics in space.
Sep 10, 2003 Astronomers have long-held that collisions were the primary cause of spinning asteroids, but new research indicates that it might be something much more gentle: sunlight. In a recent study carried out by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Charles University (Prague), Astronomers calculated the effect of millions and even billions of years of sunlight pressure can cause an asteroid to spin so fast it can fly apart; others can be made to stop spinning completely.
Sep 10, 2003 The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has "heard" a black hole for the first time. The object is a supermassive black hole at the heart of a Galaxy in the Perseus cluster, located 250 million light-years away. Chandra detected deep sound waves eminating from the black hole in the surrounding gas and dust which have traveled hundreds of thousands of light-years. This discovery may help Astronomers understand why there is so much hot gas in Galaxy clusters when all calculations predict it should cool away - the sound energy is warming it up.
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