The ESA telescope, ‘Flyeye’, due to be installed before Christmas, will be able to scan space and identify any possible objects near to Earth. Flyeye would split the image into 16 smaller sub images to maximise the field of view. The developers hope that the telescope would be able to detect anything larger than 40 metres in diameter at least three weeks before a potential impact.
The authorities would therefore have the information that they needed to predict the possible impact of a near-Earth object, find out where it might impact and how to protect the population.
The first telescope of this kind is expected to be installed at its final location on Mount Mufara in Sicily at the end of 2019.
An agreement has been signed between the ESA and the Italian Space Agency to use the Mufara mountain for the deployment of FlyeEye.
This comes following an asteroid big enough to kill millions zooming past the planet shortly after it was spotted.
Following this flyby in July, the ESA has demanded there are more ways of detecting asteroids in the sky so there are no ‘surprises’ again.
The ESA has admitted that the rock has been “previously observed but was not recognised as a near-Earth asteroid.”
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Head of planetary defence at the agency Rudiger Jehn said: “This un-recognition of an asteroid, despite it being photographed will be used to test the software going into ESA’s upcoming asteroid-hunting telescope.”
The ESA is also working on Hera, which is a project aimed to redirect dangerous near-Earth objects.
NASA has claimed that it has already found most of the near-Earth objects , which measure one kilometre or more, and which would have global effects if there were to be a collision.
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The Centre For Near-Earth Object Studies has admitted there are a few asteroids which have been identified by NASA of having a change of hitting Earth.
One of these asteroids is called Bennu and is monitored by the agency.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he is concerned that the world does not have any defence against any large asteroids hitting Earth.
Mr Musk tweeted: “Wouldn’t worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defence.”
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