Dr. Michael Busch of the SETI Institute recently gave the following talk in the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Rubble Piles in the Sky: The Science, Exploration, and Danger of Near-Earth Asteroids –
Near-Earth asteroids are a population of small bodies whose orbits around the Sun cross or come near our planet’s orbit. They turn out to be unusual physical environments: essentially rubble piles. They represent a natural hazard we ignore at our peril, because some of these bodies have the potential to impact Earth. Dr. Busch reviews the near-Earth population, programs to track and characterize near-Earth asteroids, and current efforts to address the danger of asteroid impacts.