UA awarded grant to better detect dangerous asteroids - Tucson News Now

UA awarded grant to better detect dangerous asteroids

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Call it out of this world technology and its being developed right here in Tucson.

A team of University of Arizona researchers are using grant money to better detect dangerous asteroids that could collide with earth.

The idea is to find any asteroids big enough to pulverize something on earth, like a city or a state or small country.

Giant asteroids have hit earth before and scientists in Tucson are working to ensure it doesn't happen again.

University of Arizona computer scientists have a grant to take the substantial amount of information we have on asteroids now and use modern techniques to reprocess it and see what more information they can get from it.

Plus, as new equipment and technology is developed, scientists will need a way to keep up with that new information and not be overwhelmed.

But, what if astronomers do spot a killer asteroid heading toward earth?

"There are people who are actually researching plans to deflect asteroids off of their orbits so that they will not hit the earth. The more time that we have, the more time that we have to research, develop a tool that will actually go out and do the work, and the longer that tool will have to get its job done. So it can be done much more cheaply and efficiently if we know now instead of later," said Jonathan Myers, UA computer science graduate student.

In case you're wondering, Tucson News Now's Barbara Grijalva did ask if anything big enough to do major damage is heading our way.

Myers said "No. The earth is safe to our knowledge."

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved. 

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