Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meteor Strike in Russia!
Think Like a Scientist and EARN A REWARD
(or even help save the earth!)

On Friday, Feb 15th 2013, a meteor rattled Siberia injuring hundreds of people.  The earth has had many meteor strikes over the centuries but now a group of young scientists and investors are working to develop a space telescope that would scan the solar system for dangers.   

Edward Lu, a former NASA astronaut and Google executive leads a team called the B612 Foundation: “This is a wake-up call from space. We’ve got to pay attention to what’s out there.”

Astronomers know of no asteroids or comets that pose a major threat to the planet. But NASA estimates that fewer than 10 percent of the big dangers have been discovered.
 “Our job is to be the first line of defense, and we take that very seriously,” James Green, the director of planetary science at NASA headquarters, said in an interview Friday after the Russian strike. “No one living on this planet has ever before been hurt. That’s historic.”   Dr. Green added that the Russian episode was sure to energize scientists and that an analysis of the meteor’s remains could help reveal clues about future threats.
Planning is underway to launch a large telescope known as Sentinel that can find 90 percent of the asteroids larger than 460 feet in diameter that pass through the Earth’s part of the solar system. They also want to discover smaller asteroids down to a diameter of 100 feet.   The space telescope is to have a diameter of 20 inches.  The system could be ready for launching by 2017 or 2018.   Click on the link below to watch a video about the Sentinel project.

Information for this blog entry from New York Times article appearing on Feb 17, 2013, “Vindication for Entrepreneurs Watching  Sky: Yes, It Can Fall”.


Do some research at the library or online to find answers to the following questions.  Write your answers on paper and give to Mrs D not later than Monday, Feb 25th to EARN A REWARD!

  • Where did the meteor strike in Russia?  Provide the name of the city or area.
  • The earth has had many meteor strikes – list the locations of at least five “major” meteor strikes.  In each case, the crater must be 5 kilometers or greater in diameter. 
  • Besides the existence of a crater, name at least two other pieces of evidence that a scientist might find that would indicate a meteor had struck the area. 
  • Think Like a Scientist….  When a meteor strikes the earth, what is the result?   Consider the ground, air, water, weather, wildlife.  List at least five things that you believe could happen.
  • Think Like a Scientist….  If you were in charge of designing a system to prevent meteors from striking the earth, how would it work?  Describe your system in 100 words or less.