The Fear and Fun of Near-Earth Asteroids



The explosion of an asteroid over Russia in 2013 caught by hundreds of dashcams, and the perennial reminder of the dinosaurs' demise due to an earlier, and bigger, asteroid impact, serve to illustrate the fear that asteroids may inspire in us. But near-Earth asteroids, our closest neighbors in the Solar System, also offer hitherto unimagined opportunities for exploration and resource harvesting. They might even be the stepping stones we require to seed the solar system with space colonies. The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, located at the CfA, is on the front line of asteroid discoveries and is vital to the research of asteroid scientists the world over. We'll explore its inner workings and how it contributes to both the fun and fear of near-Earth asteroids.

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