This Friday, an asteroid nearly 2 miles wide will zoom past Earth at speeds of more than 23,000 mph, an occurrence the White House plans to highlight in an upcoming Google Hangout.
The object, named asteroid 1998 QE2 by NASA, has inspired the next focal point in the series of “We the Geeks” Google Hangout. On May 31 at 2 p.m., asteroid whizzes Bill Nye the Science Guy, former astronaut Ed Lu, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, astronomer Jose Luis Galache, and Peter Diamandis, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, will gather to talk asteroids, via Google Hangout.
In recent years, NASA and the White House have called for increased allocation of budget resources to improve understanding and tracking ability of asteroids. The NEO (near-Earth object) budget increased by $14 million in 2012, and there are dozens of people involved with some type of NEO research across NASA and its centers.
An appropriate measure considering this year not only saw a meteor explosion over Russia, but also an asteroid flyby on the same day.
NASA recently announced its development on a project to bring an asteroid into stable orbit just beyond the moon, for human exploration. This historical mission, if successful, would mark the beginning of a new era of space exploration innovation and possibilities.
The May 31 conversation will be moderated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Cristin Dorgelo, and will focus on asteroid characterization and identification, hazard mitigation and resource use.
Tune in to WhiteHouse.gov to watch live “We the Geeks” Hangout, and get involved in the conversation by going on Twitter or Google Plus and using the hashtag, #WeTheGeeks.