It’s been fodder for sci-fi stories for years, but realistically, it’s only a matter of time. It could be a few decades, it could be a few thousand years, but Earth is eventually going to get hit where it hurts by an asteroid.
The folks at NASA are looking to get into the asteroid-sampling game later this year, and the space agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is closer than ever to launch. The craft arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida a couple of weeks ago, after being sent over from Lockheed Martin.
In its push to scoop up properties that play on nostalgia, Universal won a bidding war over the film rights to the classic Atari videogame a couple of years ago—around the same time they snapped up Battleship. Now, word has slipped out about exactly what an Asteroids movie could look like.
Phil Plait is an astronomer and major sci-fi geek. He writes the Bad Astronomy Blog for Discover Magazine and is also the host of the Discovery Channel's science show "Phil Plait's Bad Universe." You can follow him on Twitter at @BadAstronomer.
It begins when an amateur astronomer spots something in the sky that shouldn't be there. A hurried email, a chat over the 'net, and then confirmation from professional observatories—but a discovery kept secret from the public.
That roaring sound outside isn't tropical storm Maria hitting land but the collective sigh of relief about Emmerich's decision to leave Asteroids, the vintage meteorite-blasting arcade game project. Whew! That was close.
Don't worry, we're not going to have to call Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in to fly out and save the planet. But tonight, a pretty large asteroid is going to fly closer to the Earth than any asteroid has in two centuries, and if you've got a telescope and a little knowledge, you'll be able to see it.
Planetary Resources just wrapped up a press conference in Seattle, officially announcing both its existence and its ambitious plan to mine near-Earth asteroids. We were listening in live, and here's everything you need to know about how this asteroid mining plan is going to work and when it's going to happen.
One of my favorite clichés in movies—and by "favorite" I mean "makes me want to fly to the screenwriter's house and stab them in the eye with a red editing pen"—is when a character comes up with a ridiculously top-heavy and overly-complex scheme, and another character says, "That's so crazy it just might work!"