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August 2015 Newsletter
 

The History of B612 Foundation

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

In October of 2001, Ed Lu and Rusty Schweickart met with Piet Hut, Clark Chapman, and 20 top scientists at Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center. The group wanted to explore scenarios around asteroid impacts and solve for those situations in a cost-effective manner. The group came to the conclusion that we currently had technology available that would be able to predict and prevent asteroid impacts.

From these initial meetings, B612 Foundation was established in 2002. During our first ten years as a volunteer organization, our focus was on asteroid deflection research and advocacy. The team developed several deflection concepts, ones that are accepted today as standard techniques to prevent an impact.

In this month’s newsletter, we want to share some highlights from the B612 Foundation archives and will share more in the coming months.

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About the Gravity Tractor

What if, say, a 20-ton spacecraft spent a year just hovering above the surface of an asteroid? "When we plugged the numbers in, we were like, hey, it actually works," recalls Lu. "The force of gravity is strong enough, even though it's tiny between an asteroid and the spacecraft, to tow it substantially."

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VIDEO: London's Asteroid Day Panel Discussion

Last month we highlighted AD expert Debbie Lewis’s post on planetary defense, and shared the Asteroid Day programming at the California Academy of Sciences. We’d like to share the Asteroid Day London Science Panel video, which discusses the threats asteroids pose to Earth. Chaired by Dr. Stuart Clark, the video features Sir Crispin Tickell, Debbie Lewis, Prof Richard Crowther, Lord Martin Rees, Dr. Stuart Clark, Dr. Brian May, Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, Dr. Lewis Dartnell and Grigorij Richters.

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From the Archives: Letter to the President 

Back in 2003, Astrophysicist Piet Hut from the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton and a founding member of the Kira Institute and B612 Foundation, wanted to answer this question posed by President Bush: "What are the pressing scientific issues for the nation and the world, and what is your advice on how I can begin to deal with them?"

Read the Letter

VIDEO: Scott Manley's If You Could See All the Asteroids

B612 Foundation supporter and favorite Kerbal enthusiast Scott Manley created a new video, “If You Could See All The Asteroids, What Would The Sky Look Like?” to demonstrate at this year’s Asteroid Day. Based on data of the estimated asteroids near the Earth, he calculated their positions and placed them on a virtual Sky sphere to be viewed in 360 degrees. 

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