Below are the notes I wrote and submitted to Coast to Coast AM and George Noory for my radio interview, February 12th, 2019.
I’m not sure if George read all this but writing the notes and reviewing them helped me prepare for the show.
I had most of the pages spread out in front of me during the show for quick reference, but in the end, I was able to respond to George without looing at my cheat sheet!
ASTEROIDS – Bridge to Nowhere is a fun yet frightening adventure that takes place during an asteroid storm that occurs every night. A rouge group inside the government knew the asteroid storm was headed for Earth and worked very hard to keep it a secret, even from the rest of the government. Since world destruction is assured, their leader believes it is better to keep the populace ignorant while preparing underground cities for his ‘Few and Fortunate.’
Rick Munday, an astrophysicist from Cal tech, unwittingly gets involved in this conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government. He battles the rogue forces who attempt to thwart his efforts to save people from the storms and his quest to reach his family, beyond the Bridge to Nowhere.
ASTEROIDS takes place in the near future and includes lots of technology that is almost here. I tend to call this science faction instead of science fiction because the reader can Google much of the tech to learn more. The story features technologies that are currently being researched or are in development today but are not available as products. In the future these technologies are everyday consumer products fully embedded in the characters’ lives.
The places are real. There really is a Bridge to Nowhere. Burwell, Nebraska is a real place. The location of New Arcadia is an empty field, today. The location of Salvation in the Mojave Desert is a real place.
The asteroid impacts are real. I used Purdue’s Impact Earth website to create realistic impact craters. Harpoon is an asteroid smasher that is a real NASA concept. I spent hundreds of hours researching asteroids and technology and worked with maps to make everything is as real and accurate as possible.
ASTEROIDS is an exciting adventure that includes conspiracy theories like government coverups and underground cities including the city of New Zion under the Denver airport. Six cities are connected by underground high-speed rail, but the story has many layers and asks moral and ethical questions:
Can we trust the Government?
How would the government react if they knew the world was going to be destroyed by asteroids?
– Would they warn the world?
– Would they keep it secret?
– Would they plan to save only themselves?
How do you decide who survives and who dies?
– What happens when a small group of people have a secure place to live during the storm but adding more people threaten the lives of everyone? Do you let more people in? Is it OK to let people die to save yourselves?
– The underground cities have room for more but have locked everyone out. Is it morally righteous for Rick and his friends to break in and swarm the cities with thousands of people to save more lives?
And our hero, Rick Munday, even as death surrounds him, he fights through every obstacle to get home. Love is his strongest motivation for survival. Family is what drives him to reach the Bridge to Nowhere.
Two scientists assisted with technical sections of the book;
Dr. Joe Nuth of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center came up with the cause of the asteroid storm. He consulted over the phone, edited the chapter in the book where the cause of the storm is described and proof-read the entire manuscript.
Dr. Bong Wie – Asteroid Deflection Research Center, Iowa State University – I read his research paper about NEO Impact Threat Mitigation and contacted him – he edited the description of the HARPOON device in the book and provided valuable feedback.
The Threat of Asteroids to planet Earth
1.) In your novel an asteroid storm bombards Earth with devasting results. What could we do if a large asteroid was hurtling toward Earth?
A) In the words of Dr. Joe Nuth of the Goddard Space Flight Center; “We’re pretty much screwed. There’s not a hell of a lot we can do about it.”
2.) There are thousands of Near-Earth Objects, or NEO’s, hasn’t NASA discovered all of them?
A) No. And that’s the real danger. Its’ not the ones they’ve found that worry me. It’s the ones we haven’t spotted and aren’t tracking that scare me! An undiscovered asteroid could crash into Earth at any moment and it would be a complete surprise! The danger is real and we’re all in this together.
The Minor Planet Center has cataloged only 22,000 Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) 460 feet and larger. 40 new objects are discovered every week.
NASA estimates that about two thirds of the NEO’s out there larger than 460 feet (140 m) remain to be discovered.
2019 was a bumper year for asteroid-spotters. The Minor Planet Center, which is the single worldwide location for cataloging the orbits of asteroids reports there were 4,956 new asteroids discovered, 2,436 were NEO’s. So far in 2020 they’ve discovered more than 400 new NEO’s.
Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets in our solar system located between Earth and the Sun. In 1998 congress directed NASA to catalog 90 percent of NEO’s 1 kilometer in diameter within 10 years. They accomplished this in 2011, three years behind schedule. In 2005 congress mandated that NASA was to detect and catalog at least 90 percent of NEO’s 450 feet in size by 2020. NASA did not meet that deadline.
Why does NASA use the 460 ft (140 meter) size as the cutoff to observe? Because an impact from an asteroid this size will only kill tens of thousands.
NASA’s NEO survey uses a 460-foot cutoff for tracking NEO’s because impacts from objects of that size would produce only regional effects. Impacts from objects 984-feet or 300 meters would cause sub-global effects while impacts from asteroids 1 kilometer or 3,280 feet wide would create global effects.
3.) Have there been events that caught the scientific community totally off guard?
A) Absolutely. There were two key events that gave scientists and governments a big shock:
The Chelyabinsk, Russia meteor blast on Feb. 15, 2013- I’m sure everyone has heard of this event. A fireball raced through the sky, recorded by hundreds of dash cams, that exploded with the force of 470 kilotons of TNT. The air burst broke windows and injured 1,200 people. It was a complete surprise.
2- July 25, 2019 asteroid OK 2019 a 427-foot wide asteroid – that’s larger than a football field passed Earth at 40,000 miles – it was discovered just days before passing Earth – and it was the largest close encounter on record.
When events like these happen suddenly research budgets, Space Telescopes and Planetary Defense projects get approved. ( See NEOWISE and NEOCAM below).
4.) How much damage would the impact of a 500-foot diameter asteroid cause?
A) In October 2016 NASA and FEMA conducted a simulation exercise of what might happen if an asteroid hit near Los Angeles. The simulation concluded that if a 330-foot asteroid hit southern California, the explosion would level cities for 30 miles, require mass evacuations and kill tens of thousands.
I used Purdue University’s Impact Earth website to simulate the impact of a 500-foot asteroid composed of iron, moving at 15 miles per second. The impact would create a crater 2.3 miles in diameter with a depth of 1400 feet.
If you were standing 6 miles from the impact you would feel the ground shake equal to a 6.3 magnitude earthquake causing chimneys to fall. But wait….29 seconds after the impact you would be hit by an airburst traveling at nearly 1,000 miles per hour. Wood frame houses disintegrate, multistory buildings collapse, highway bridges crumble, 90 percent of trees are blown down. But the asteroid isn’t finished with you because 44 seconds after impact ejected material from the crater begins to fall burying everything in 3 feet of material, including many fragments up to 36 feet in size falling from the sky crushing cars, buildings and people.
If you were standing 3 miles from the impact you would be buried under 26 feet of mass ejected from the crater.
Objects 10 miles from the impact would be hit by a 500-mph airburst destroying wood frame homes, knocking over buildings and most of the trees.
This might not be a city killer, but it would be a very bad day in the neighborhood.
5.) NASA and JPL publicize images of stars and galaxies thousands of light years away. If we are searching distant galaxies, we must know everything about our own solar system.
A) Absolutely not! Just last October astronomers discovered 20 new moons orbiting Saturn. You would think that if we are snapping photos of distant galaxies, we’d at least have identified all the moons orbiting planets in our own solar system. We haven’t even found Planet 9 yet.
It’s estimated there are up to 1.9 million asteroids larger than 1 kilometer and millions of smaller ones in the asteroid belt, which is between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, we Earthlings have cataloged a mere 932,164 asteroids and comets in our solar system.
6.) How many of these NEO’s are considered potentially dangerous?
A) There are 1,955 NEO’s classified as Potentially Hazardous asteroids (PHA’s).
No need for panic. Only 982 of them will ever come close enough to hit us. There are 32 close approaches being monitored from just Feb. 7th till April 4th.
NASA considers any object ‘potentially hazardous’ that comes within 5 million miles of Earth’s orbit and is massive enough to cause significant damage on Earth.
7.) NASA says the risk of an impact is low. The night sky looks big and empty. It looks so calm and quiet, what’s the big deal?
A) When people look up at the sky at night, they don’t realize that Earth is under constant attack!
People believe we live in a secure, quiet place in the solar system, but they don’t realize several thousand meteoroids large enough to create fireballs strike Earth’s atmosphere every day. Shooting stars are caused by dust and small rocks. Fireballs are caused by larger meteoroids.
A bolide is a fireball that explodes in the atmosphere with a bright flash.
Sensors designed to detect atmospheric nuclear explosions recorded over 600 hundred atmospheric entries over a twenty-year period. During the past two years there have been 78 explosions with impact energies greater than 1 kiloton (1000 sticks of TNT) and 11 which had impact energy greater than 10 kilotons – comparable to the size of the nuclear blasts during World War II.
The Planetary Science Institute estimates that 500 meteorites reach the surface of the Earth each year.
With all this activity, it seems likely that a larger asteroid could sneak into our atmosphere with destructive force.
The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.
8.) What makes asteroids so difficult to detect?
A) Even though an asteroid could be as large as a mountain, space is vast. You have to look in the right part of the sky or you could miss one. Many asteroids are as dark as coal and don’t reflect much light making them hard to spot.
Much of the detection activity is directed away from the sun because it can be difficult for telescopes to spot an asteroid if its approaching Earth from the direction of the sun, so lots of asteroids are missed.
The problem is that ground based telescopes have limitations. They can only survey at night when the skies are clear. NASA estimates that about two thirds of the NEO’s out there larger than 460 feet remain to be discovered.
9.) We have Hubble and other space telescopes; don’t we have one looking for asteroids?
A) We have just 1 (one) space telescope searching for asteroids and it wasn’t designed for this purpose. WISE (Wide-field infrared-wavelength Survey Explorer) was a space telescope designed to search for distant galaxies and nearby stars. WISE was active from Dec. 2009 – Feb. 2011 when it’s refrigeration system ran out of hydrogen for cooling, and the program was terminated. The spacecraft was reactivated in Sept. 2013, renamed NEOWISE and tasked to identify NEO’s utilizing its infrared technology, locating asteroids by their heat. So, the only real eyes we have in the sky searching for asteroids is a broken spaceship doing a mission it wasn’t designed for. It’s like buying a used KIA sedan and using it as a Ford 150 pickup. NEOWISE is now at the end of its useful life and cease operation this summer.
Note that NEOWISE was looking at objects away from the sun. We are the third planet from the sun. there are 92 million miles of space between the Earth and the sun. That’s plenty of room for a few thousand killer asteroids to hang out.
Shortly after the surprise close flyby of OK 2019 last July – a new space telescope named NEOCAM which had been planned for years and partially funded in 2017, suddenly received final approval Sept 23rd. It may be ready to launch by 2025.
10.) I see reports of close asteroid flybys in the news all the time. NASA and JPL say there is very little risk of an impact. Does that mean NASA is tracking all the dangerous asteroids?
A) No! Most asteroid close calls are complete surprises. Many of the asteroids that have close calls with Earth were discovered AFTER they zipped past us!
In 2019 Earth had 83 close scraps with asteroids. 47 of these events were detected after the asteroid past Earth! 12 were discovered less than 24 hours before passing Earth. The remaining were discovered at least a week before they flew past us.
2018 had 93 close approaches, 55 of which were discovered after they could have smashed into Earth!
Notable recent close encounters:
Last March 28th – a 100 ft asteroid passed earth at an altitude of 64,000 miles traveling at 58,000 miles per hour. It was detected the day AFTER is passed Earth. It was the second largest of 14 asteroids to pass between the Earth and Moon in 2019.
Last April 18th an asteroid the size of a house flew past Earth. Discovered just 9 days before, the 100 ft asteroid traveling at 12, 600 miles per hour, skimmed past Earth at an altitude of 136,000 miles.
July 25th, 2019 asteroid OK 2019 a 427-foot wide asteroid – that’s larger than a football field passed Earth at 40,000 miles – it was discovered just days before passing Earth – and it was the largest close encounter on record. This is very scary considering that telecommunication satellites orbit at an altitude of 22,236 miles.
This past Halloween night, Oct. 31 NASA failed to detect an asteroid (2019 UN13) that passed Earth at just 3,852 miles. It was discovered just hours before it flew past Earth. It was only about 7 feet in diameter, so it would have likely burnt up in the atmosphere.
We don’t have the resources to find and track all the dangerous asteroids out there and we don’t have the technology to deflect, divert or destroy an oncoming space object. If you discover a city killer asteroid days before impact, the best hope is that you can evacuate the impact area in time.
An asteroid that passes within 1 LD (Lunar Distance) or between the Earth and Moon, 238,000 miles is considered a close approach.
11.) Isn’t there a risk from comets as well? Interstellar comets like Oumuamua have been observed entering our solar system.
A) Absolutely. Dr. Joe Nuth of the Goddard Space Flight Center said in 2016, “Earth had ‘a close encounter’ in 1996, when an aberrant comet flew into Jupiter, and then again in 2014, when a comet passed within cosmic spitting distance of Mars. That second comet was only discovered 22 months before its brush with a planet: not nearly enough time to launch a deflection mission, had it been on a course for Earth. If you look at the schedule for high-reliability spacecraft and launching them, it takes five years to launch a spacecraft. We had 22 months of total warning.”
Since that time, the interstellar visitor Oumuamua was observed passing 21 million miles from Earth., Although not a comet, the object shocked scientists.
On Oct 12th, 2019 the Hubble Space Telescope spotted comet 21/Borisov, was the second interstellar visitor and the first confirmed interstellar comet.
If one of these objects were aimed toward Earth, we would have a short time to prepare to deflect or survive an impact.
12.) What is the likelihood of an asteroid impact?
A) There have been impacts, albeit small ones, the most significant recent impacts have been:
The Chelyabinsk, Russia meteor blast on Feb. 15, 2013 that struck the atmosphere at 40,000 miles per hour was approximately 60 feet wide or as tall as six-story building weighing 11,000 tons. It broke apart 12-15 miles above Earth’s surface with an explosive force of 470 kilotons, 30-40 times the power of the Hiroshima nuclear explosion. The shockwave shattered glass and injured 1,200 people. Nobody saw it coming!
2018LA was a small asteroid detected just eight hours before it struck Earth’s atmosphere over southern Africa on June 2, 2018. The asteroid broke up 30 miles above Earth’s surface producing an explosion with the intensity of 1 kiloton. Astronomers estimate the size was between 10-16 feet in diameter. Researchers later found meteorite fragments in Botswana.
Given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalogue, an unpredicted impact – such as the Chelyabinsk event – could occur at any time.
13.) Are there asteroids large enough to cause destruction that have a high percentage of hitting Earth?
A) JPL is tracking several asteroids that have a potential of striking Earth, but it’s the asteroids they haven’t discovered and aren’t tracking that are the biggest threat to Earth.
Asteroid 1979 XB has a diameter of 2,300 feet. That is massive. It will come somewhat close in 2024, but Mark your calendars for Dec. 14, 2113 when it makes another approach for a potentially explosive day! If it hits Earth it could create a huge crater several miles wide.
Friday the 13th 2029 might be bad luck for planet Earth when Apophis, an asteroid 1,100 feet across will pass 19,000 miles from Earth, closer than many satellites. Don’t be frightened. Scientists are excited; they get to study the near miss. Depending on where you are on Earth and when it passes you should be able to watch it zip by with your naked eyes. Hopefully it won’t send any satellites crashing to Earth.
Bennu, is a gigantic object 1,600 feet across that makes a close approach to Earth every six years. Some scientists predict that Bennu will collide with Earth in 2135. NASA is formulating plans to deflect the asteroid with a planetary defense weapon but that’s been deemed mission impossible because of its size and mass. NASA mission Osiris-rex has visited the asteroid and will be bringing samples back to Earth in 2023.
14.) What is the government’s plan to warn the public if an asteroid impact is imminent?
A) I read an article recently that outlined the five steps NASA and FEMA would take if an asteroid, on a destructive course with Earth was discovered.
NASA and FEMA 5 Steps if a city killer Asteroid is discovered
1.) Text goes out to no more than 12 scientists (no more than 12?)
2.) Track Asteroids path
3.) Determine size and time of impact
4.) Confirm with FEMA that the impact is inevitable
5.) NASA and FEMA issue a joint public statement – agencies address how to protect Earth
What if they skipped step five and didn’t make a public statement?
What if the government kept the news of an imminent disastrous impact secret?
What if they implemented the “Bliss Protocol” to keep the public from panicking?
15.) Do we have any technology ready today for planetary defense?
A) No. If an asteroid was headed toward Earth today, we are totally screwed. Duck and Cover!
Any planetary defense mission will take years to prepare for launch. If an object like OK2019, the 427 ft. July surprise is headed for us with only a few days’ notice, we are screwed. NASA’s Planetary Defense budget is only $150 million per year, a small amount compared to the US defense budget.
The efforts to discover asteroids have been knee jerk reactions to dangerous events:
Feb 2013 – a meteor explodes over Chelyabinsk, Russia
September 2013 – WISE is reactivated as NEOWISE
July 2019 – OK2019, a city killer skims our atmosphere
September 2019 – after many years, NEOCAM finally gets fully funded
Do you see a pattern here?
16.) Hasn’t NASA been working on Planetary Defense for years?
- Planetary Defense missions are in their early infancy.
Dr. Joe Nuth said that if we had a rocket in storage, ready to launch within a year, “we could mitigate the possibility of a sneaky asteroid coming in from a place that’s hard to observe, like from the sun.”
Dr Cathy Plesko, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said there were two ways humans might deflect an asteroid: a nuclear warhead or a “kinetic impactor, which is basically a giant cannonball.”
17.) Can’t we fire a rocket at an asteroid and change its trajectory or blow it up?
A) We will soon be testing that! DART – The first ever planetary defense mission is now being prepared.
DART or Double Asteroid Redirection Test is the first mission that will attempt to change the orbit of an asteroid. DART will be launched July 2021 and smash into a moonlet in Sept. 2022.
It’s called Double Asteroid because Didymos, the primary asteroid is approximately 780 meters (2,559 ft) across, its secondary body Didymoon, is a “moonlet” is 160-meters(524 ft) in size.
DART is a high velocity impactor that will crash into Didymoon, the moonlet, at about 15,000 mph.
The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, but this will change the orbital period of the moonlet by several minutes – enough to be observed and measured using telescopes on Earth. An Italian CubeSat will fly with DART to observe the impact.
The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch a mission named HERA that will arrive a couple years after the impact to study the aftermath of the collision.
NEOCAM will be a new space telescope that will hunt out space objects using a new, more sensitive infrared sensor optimized for detecting the faint heat emitted by asteroids. It’s set to launch no earlier than 2025. With NEOWISE being out of commission in mid-2020, we won’t have any eyes in space hunting asteroids for at least five years!
Hyper Velocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle (HAIV) – This is a space craft that has two parts, a kinetic impactor at the end of a long boom followed by a nuclear explosive device. The impactor creates a small crater in the surface of the asteroid which allows for a sub-surface nuclear explosion just milliseconds after the impactor hits. This two-stage effect creates a more effective disruption of the asteroid.
Don’t imagine blowing an asteroid to smithereens. There are many factors that determine the outcome of the blast, the overall structure, material composition, the density of the object, size of the weapon, etc.
More than one nuclear blast may be necessary and partial disruption, breaking a large asteroid into smaller chunks might be the best outcome.
You can read all about the device I named Harpoon in the book.
There have been other concepts for planetary defense from firing a laser beam to strapping a rocket engine to an asteroid. All the ideas that involve moving an asteroid slowly over months or years would be technically challenging, costly and you also have the issue of how to steer the damn thing!
– Gravity Tractor – moves an asteroid slowly – A massive spacecraft hovers over an asteroid to gravitationally pull the object to another orbit. – This is a slow, expensive solution that could take decades.
– ION beamed Shepard – like the gravity tractor – an ion thruster is pointed at the object from a nearby spacecraft creating a slow but continuous force.
– Focused solar energy – this creates thrust from vaporizing asteroid material – requires only large concentrating mirrors, but also takes years.
– Strapping a rocket engine to the asteroid – a rocket would have a small effect on even a small asteroid – there is just too much mass to move. How much rocket fuel do you have?
– Laser ablation – focus sufficient laser energy on the asteroid to cause flash vaporization/ablation to create either an impulse or burn away the asteroid mass. – this concept has received lots of attention, but there are no test missions planned.
How to survive an asteroid Impact or bombardment
18.) What can you do to protect yourself from an asteroid impact?
A) Don’t be where it hits. A 500 ft. asteroid can cause tremendous damage to towns and cities for up to 30 miles from the point of impact. If there is any warning, take heed and get out of Dodge.
19.) What if evacuation is impossible?
A) find a deep hole. The sub-basement of a building or parking garage. A cave. A sewer. A subway tunnel. Do anything possible to get underground. Remember that the most damaging aspect of an asteroid impact can be the air burst. The air burst six miles from the impact of a 500 ft asteroid can be moving at 1,000 miles per hour. Depending on the size of the impact, the air can be super-heated igniting fires. After the air burst, the next most dangerous aspect is the mass ejected from the impact crater. Large chunks can fall from the skies. You don’t want to be walking around while big rocks are crashing to the ground.
20.) Your book describes an asteroid storm or bombardment over many days– how could anyone prepare for that?
A) In my story there are Four survival scenarios.
1- Underground Cities – A rogue element of the government knew the asteroid storm was coming. They built six underground cities with names like New Arcadia, New Zion, Edendale and so forth connected by underground high-speed rail. They had years to plan for the protection of their selected few. Each city can support up to two hundred thousand people. They developed systems for water, power, food, and commerce between the cities – everything they need to survive long term.
2 – A Mountain Cave Hide-a-way – Uncle Rob bought an old gold mine in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles several years before the asteroid storm. He turned the old mine into a self-sustainable environment for a about a dozen people with gardens, a farm, water filtration, composting and a special, borrowed power source. He’s a mad scientist who planned for the worst to protect his family, never thinking he would need to use the hide-a-way, but it came in handy when asteroids started falling.
3 – A Prepper shelter – When asteroids start falling Curtis, a nerdy guy moves to a more typical doomsday prepper type of underground shelter next to his house, constructed out of large aluminum culverts buried under twenty feet of cement. This is the kind of structure you can find plans for on the internet. The shelter is stocked with enough food and resources to support two or three people for an extended stay. He isn’t fully off the grid but has a place underground to ride out the storms.
4 – Salvation – a place out in the Mojave Desert that a preacher, for a fee, prepared for his followers. Salvation was promoted as a comfortable, fully self-sustainable environment developed to support several hundred people. When the storm arrives, the believers make their way to Salvation, but the preacher is no where to be found. When they break into the building, they learn that nothing has been prepared. It’s an empty shell of an old AT&T building designed to withstand nuclear attack, so they can hunker down in the structure and be protected from the asteroids, but they have no food, water, or power. They are not in a good situation.
21.) When you have a shelter designed to support a dozen people, wouldn’t it become a dilemma if more people want in.
A) Yes. It would be a life and death decision for the people inside the shelter and the people who want in. If you have limited resources and you have no idea how long the asteroid storm will continue, adding one or two extra people could threaten the lives of everyone. Do you let those who want in, die? It is quite a moral dilemma.
22.) On the other hand, if you have a large underground facility that could likely support thousands more people, do you have the right to fight your way in?
A.) In the book, the main character and his friends create a video game to battle the encrypted security systems of the secret underground cities to break in and save thousands of people who will surely die if they are left outside in the asteroid storm.
The government didn’t warn people about the storm yet built cities to protect the select few. They did this knowing that millions would be left unprotected to die in the storm. So, it seems righteous to fight the evil government and fight your way in to save more lives.
23.) Is it ethical for the people inside the underground facility to defend their facility to keep people out?
A.) In the book it seems that the leader of the city is simply evil and selfish, but thousands of people invading the city could stress the resources of the environment. Just because the underground cities work on a larger scale than a small mine, it doesn’t mean there aren’t limits on resources and the number of people that can be supported without threatening the entire system.
Why is invading a large city more righteous than keeping people out of a small environment?
Mankind’s greatest enemy in this world is other men. We team up, make allies, create devasting weapons and build armies for the purpose of battling other armies of men. When the enemy is asteroids falling from space, it’s every man for himself.
ASTEROID Research References
A ‘city-killer’ asteroid got scarily close to Earth, and astronomers didn’t know about it till it was just days away
Twenty Years of Tracking Near-Earth Objects
White House takes action on asteroid threats
Near-Earth asteroid numbers grow in record year
NASA’s 5-step plan for when it discovers a giant, killer asteroid headed straight for Earth
Sky-surveying Telescopes Sweep Up Near-Earth Asteroids
The Minor planet Center
NASA’s currently operating NEOWISE space-based survey was not designed for this purpose.
NEOWISE is a repurposed astrophysics spacecraft, and while it has made significant contributions to NEO characterization and discovery, its capabilities are limited.
Massive City-Killer Asteroid’s Potential Earth Impact Date Revealed By ESA
A House-Size Asteroid Zipped by Earth Today
Spooky Halloween asteroid flyby one of the closest near misses ever seen
Recent Asteroid Flybys – Unusual, But Expected
Chelyabinsk Meteor: A Wake-Up Call for Earth
What Is the Difference Between Asteroids and Meteorites?
FIREBALL FAQS – American meteor Society
20 new moons discovered orbiting Saturn
THE NEOWISE PROJECT
This Is What We Don’t Know About The Universe
How Many Asteroids Are Out There? (2012)
A Look at Earth’s Planetary Defense Systems in Preparation for Doomsday
Meteor Showers and Shooting Stars: Formation, Facts and Discovery
Hubble Observes 1st Confirmed Interstellar Comet
NASA to build telescope for detecting asteroids that threaten Earth
How to defend the Earth from asteroids