Feeds

Save Earth from asteroidal doom

And win $50k

Remote control for virtualized desktops

American scientists are offering a $50,000 prize to the person who designs a system for tagging and tracking the potentially Earth-threatening asteroid, Apophis.

The asteroid is due to pass very close (astronomically speaking) to Earth in 2029. During this close encounter, its trajectory will be changed thanks to Earth's gravitational influence. There is a chance, albeit small, that it could be put on a path to collide with us in 2036.

Naturally, astronomers would like to be able to confirm that this isn't going to happen, hence the competition.

The Planetary Society is putting up the $50k prize money thanks to a donation from board member Dan Geraci. The competition is being run in conjunction with the European Space Agency, NASA, and a number of other space-related bodies.

The Planetary Society argues that it is vital we find out if the asteroid is likely to be set on a collision course as soon as possible. This will give us time to make plans to intercept and divert the rock, which is thought to be between 300m and 400m, and save us all from a fate worse than the dinosaurs'.

"While the odds are very slim that this particular asteroid will hit Earth in 30 years, they are not zero, and Apophis and other NEOs represent threats that need to be addressed," said Rusty Schweickart, Apollo astronaut and head of the Association for Space Explorers NEO (Near Earth Object) committee. 

The Society is inviting suggestions for ways to rendezvous with the asteroid and tag it so as to track its path as accurately as possible. There is an area of space several hundred metres wide which the scientists are referring to as the keyhole. If the astroid passes through this keyhole, it will be set on a collision course for 2036.

The Society will present the winning entries to the world’s major space agencies, and the findings of the competition will be presented at relevant scientific and engineering conferences.

Got an idea? Have a read of the rules and get cracking. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?