Near Earth Update - NASA report

3 Sep 2010

This story from NASA (see www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/ September 2nd) has popped up all over the blogosphere, with various angles to the headlines. NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed  a lot of new information about near earth objects orbiting in near space - mainly asteroids, or defunct comets. However, the composition of these bodies turns out to be highly varied. Some are dark and dull and others shiny and bright (the Astronomical Journal September issue). Data on 100 of these objects has been analysed at Flagstaff, Arizona, and they intend to increase the number to 700 within a short while. However, there are some 7000 known objects in near earth space but the real number is thought to much higher. Some new objects have been found by the WISE mission, see www.nasa.gov/wise and http://wise.astro.ucla.edu