Your Assignment: You have been asked to head a research group to study Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs). After conducting all of your research, you will need to write a report discussing the pros and cons of continuing the search for NEAs/NEOs, as well as determining a final recommendation suggesting a continuation or a cessation to the search.
Make sure to organize your report, and include a proper bibliography at the end that includes all the resources you used. Use the following questions to guide your research, and include all the information in your report. Finally, when writing your recommendation, make sure you use evidence to support your decision – you will be discussing and debating this topic in class!
* Use the most recent resources possible when searching for information online. Some websites have pages or articles that are not current and include information that is now known to be wrong. Even 3-5 years can be outdated depending on the information and claims. Also make sure to confirm your information. If only one website or resource has published the information, and you cannot find it anywhere else, the information may be biased or inaccurate.
Recommended Sites for Research
Spacewatch Project: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/spacewatch/
Near-Earth Object Program: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/
Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazards: http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/index.html
National Geographic News: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ (conduct a search for “Asteroids” or “Killer Asteroid”)
Report/Technical Requirements: Report should be written in paragraph form that flows and transitions well; includes titled sections; is 1.5-spaced, with 1-in margins, 12-point font Arial or Times font only; includes a title page with title, name, date, and course information; includes a bibliography with proper citations for written and online resources (text and video)
Research Questions: Include your responses to the following questions in your report, in paragraph form. If you find additional information that is relevant, make sure to include it!
Section 1: The Search for NEAs/NEOs
o What are NEAs and NEOs?
o Where are most NEAs/NEOs found?
o Who is conducting the search for NEAs/NEOs? What countries are involved in the search?
o How large are most NEAs/NEOs that are being found?
Section 2: NEA/NEO Threat
o What scales are used to determine the threat of an NEA/NEO? Describe and explain them.
o What size does an NEA/NEO have to be to cause the following: a disaster that affects a small portion of the world, a disaster that changes life on Earth permanently, and a disaster than might destroy life on Earth completely
o Of the NEAs/NEOs that have been found, how many of them pose a significant threat to life on Earth?
o What are the odds of a "killer" asteroid hitting Earth?
o What evidence do we have that “killer” asteroids have hit Earth in the past?
Section 3: Available Resources
o How many astronomers and observatories are dedicated to searching for NEAs/NEOs worldwide?
o In the US, how much money is spent on the search for NEAs/NEOs? How much is spent outside the US?
o What could those resources be used for instead? Make sure to consider the research facilities and manpower in addition to monetary resources.
Section 4: Saving the Earth
o What are some common methods that are usually considered in order to avoid a collision with an asteroid? Provide an explanation of at least three.
o Of those methods, how many of them can reasonably be used? Explain why.
o How much time is needed in order to avoid collision with an asteroid? Explain why.
Section 5: Recommendation
o Propose a recommendation whether the US should continue or stop working on the search for NEOs/NEAs. Support your recommendation with at least 3 reasons that are based on evidence you have found in your research.
o Briefly discuss at least 2 reasons why you did not choose the opposing recommendation, and support those reasons with evidence.