NASA's Asteroid Grand Challenge

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According to NASA, every day, Earth is bombarded with more than 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles and about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates a fireball and burns up before reaching the surface.

NASA has issued a new initiative called the “Asteroid Grand Challenge"  that hopes to put government agencies and academics together with the public to figure out how to capture an asteroid and “lasso” it into the moon’s orbit for study.

"NASA already is working to find asteroids that might be a threat to our planet, and while we have found 95 percent of the large asteroids near the Earth’s orbit, we need to find all those that might be a threat to Earth," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver says in a statement. "This Grand Challenge is focused on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats. We will also harness public engagement, open innovation and citizen science to help solve this global problem."

Could you be the next citizen scientist?

Dr. Denton Ebel, Chair and Curator for the Division of Physical Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History, explains how this program might work.

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