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View Full Version : Why so little funding for private projects to seek out asteroid threats?



Concerned
2013-Jul-07, 08:00 PM
Hi,

I don't know if this is the best place to open the thread, but, as my question relates to tracking unknown asteroids, thus, space exploration, I thought it might be fine.

I was reading an article relating to the B612 Foundations intention to send out the Sentinel telescope to track dangerous asteroids - Available at:- http://www.space.com/20636-private-asteroid-space-telescope-b612.html. What struck me most, was the last few paragraphs where only 2/450 million required for the Peoject has since been raised.

Personally, I think that this is a wonderful idea, and a project deserving expenditure, but, what I cannot understand is how so little funding is being provided?

slang
2013-Jul-07, 09:00 PM
Did you donate? Personally, I rather spend my money on keeping my kids safe in traffic and from nasty humanish types and lots of other threats than keeping them safe from a tiny asteroid risk.

Concerned
2013-Jul-07, 09:27 PM
Did you donate? Personally, I rather spend my money on keeping my kids safe in traffic and from nasty humanish types and lots of other threats than keeping them safe from a tiny asteroid risk.

Yep! Monthly. And I pay all my taxes and insurances for the traffic and humanish stuff.

JohnD
2013-Jul-07, 10:59 PM
If you were a CEO with shareholders, would you invest in such a scheme, with absolutely no possibility of profit?

"Hello, White House?"
"This is the CEO of Sentinel Space Telescope Industries. We've found a 100megaton asteroid on collision course with Earth. We'd like to sell you the coordinates."
"Yes, sell you, and Ithe price is a billion dollars. Guy has to make a profit, y'know!"
"What? I can put my space telescope where?"
"Ms.McGurky, why are these men with guns all round my desk? Do I have an appointment with the NRA?"

JOhn

Jens
2013-Jul-07, 11:13 PM
If you were a CEO with shareholders, would you invest in such a scheme, with absolutely no possibility of profit?


I haven't read the link, but I assume the OP means funding as in grants or donations, not in the way you're thinking (investments). Just like when people give money to charities or whatever.

Noclevername
2013-Jul-07, 11:48 PM
If you were a CEO with shareholders, would you invest in such a scheme, with absolutely no possibility of profit?


Yes, that's why no one has ever given money to a non-profit organization.

Oh, wait.

Concerned
2013-Jul-08, 12:14 AM
I haven't read the link, but I assume the OP means funding as in grants or donations, not in the way you're thinking (investments). Just like when people give money to charities or whatever.

Yes, basically. I'm aware that in effect this would not be a profitable business, unless considering new patentable technologies, that 'might' come from investment. But, generally, it's why 450 million, just is not provided. 2 trillion was wiped of the stock exchange two weeks ago, just 450 million, or 200 million or so, just does not strike me as an unreachable sum, that could not be just made available. Maybe a few billionaires could chuck in some pocket change :)

Jens
2013-Jul-08, 12:52 AM
Yeah, I have a feeling that JohnD is probably in the investment banking industry and believes funding=investment, unlike us research types for whom funding=grants. But I just looked at the link, and I see that JohnD was probably deliberately misunderstanding, because it's very clear even from the title of the article that this is a non-profit project!

Concerned
2013-Jul-08, 01:05 AM
Yeah, I have a feeling that JohnD is probably in the investment banking industry and believes funding=investment, unlike us research types for whom funding=grants. But I just looked at the link, and I see that JohnD was probably deliberately misunderstanding, because it's very clear even from the title of the article that this is a non-profit project!

:)

Although, at the same time, for those inclined, there could be investment opportunity. Particularly, For asteroid mining. The sentinel projects aim is to catalogue asteroids for potential threats, but, at the same time large quantities of data would be produced for those objects that are not a threat. Similar to an OS map, such data could have Potential value. So, grants would I think be needed and should be made available, but, for the futurist with a forward view, there is potential for economic clawback.

neilzero
2013-Jul-08, 02:13 AM
Sentinel may find a threatening asteroid or two. Why infrared when the target asteroids will be near fully illuminated by the Sun? Possibly it is both visual and infrared light detection. I suppose it will find pea size asteroids as well a city busting size which it can likely detect as far away as the orbit of Mars. Possibly it will first search near Venus and gradually increase the inclination of it's orbit by doing sling shot maneuvers with Venus. Asteroids are also likely to change their orbit by close passes of Venus The link did not seem to have many details, but perhaps most detail are yet to be finalized. Will the orbit of the asteroids be accurate enough for a small error bar on a possible 50 years after first finding possible future Earth impact? If so, it can likely reduce the error bar on known asteroid orbits. Neil

JohnD
2013-Jul-08, 07:39 AM
No Jens, my response was not deliberately obtuse.
And Jens, it was irony, the humour weapon of mass destruction that sometimes blows up in the user's face.
When their audience don't recognise it.

John

Jens
2013-Jul-08, 10:23 AM
No Jens, my response was not deliberately obtuse.
And Jens, it was irony, the humour weapon of mass destruction that sometimes blows up in the user's face.
When their audience don't recognise it.

John

Ok, irony is when the real meaning is different from what's stated on the surface. I admit I failed to get (and still fail to get) what was ironic about your post.

The post by noclevername was a clear example of irony that I quickly understood.

We're you just trying to say that you don't think people donate to non-profit causes?

Buttercup
2013-Jul-08, 12:48 PM
Maybe Voltaire answered this, centuries ago (paraphrasing): When it comes to war/destruction of lives, money's always found. When it comes to preserving life, money can't be found.

Concerned
2013-Jul-08, 07:34 PM
Maybe Voltaire answered this, centuries ago (paraphrasing): When it comes to war/destruction of lives, money's always found. When it comes to preserving life, money can't be found.

Beautiful quote. I guess the notion reflects the earthly gain. Destruction of another's life, means more to go around for those that remain. War/death can be fiscally profitable. Slightly morose.

NEOWatcher
2013-Jul-09, 12:38 PM
What struck me most, was the last few paragraphs where only 2/450 million required for the Peoject has since been raised.

Personally, I think that this is a wonderful idea, and a project deserving expenditure, but, what I cannot understand is how so little funding is being provided?
What makes their plan any different?
Why would I donate to a new startup when there are already so many people looking?

To name a few:
NEOWISE Space Infrared Survey
Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR)
Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)
Spacewatch
Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS)
Catalina Sky Survey
Japanese Spaceguard Association (JSGA)
Asiago DLR Asteroid Survey (ADAS)

Yes; some of those accept donations. Why not just donate to them?

Let me add another pffft to space.com... Why can't they provide links to the pages for the topics they discuss?
b612 (http://b612foundation.org/support-sentinel/)

What exactly is their relationship with Ball?

The website doesn't address these questions for me. Even the BA supports them, but all I don't hear why they're different. If so many organizations are looking and only found a small percentage, then why isn't B612 susceptible to the same problems that restrict how many they find?

I don't want to knock these people because I appreciate anybody that promotes space research. The problem is that I have a hard time weeding out the ones who aren't in the position to succeed, or the ones that are just trying to get a foot in the door for a more commercial enterprise.

Concerned
2013-Jul-09, 10:04 PM
What makes their plan any different?
Why would I donate to a new startup when there are already so many people looking?

To name a few:
NEOWISE Space Infrared Survey
Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR)
Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT)
Spacewatch
Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS)
Catalina Sky Survey
Japanese Spaceguard Association (JSGA)
Asiago DLR Asteroid Survey (ADAS)

Yes; some of those accept donations. Why not just donate to them?

I was unaware Of several of these program's. I probably will in future, thanks.

Let me add another pffft to space.com... Why can't they provide links to the pages for the topics they discuss?
b612 (http://b612foundation.org/support-sentinel/)

What exactly is their relationship with Ball?

The website doesn't address these questions for me. Even the BA supports them, but all I don't hear why they're different. If so many organizations are looking and only found a small percentage, then why isn't B612 susceptible to the same problems that restrict how many they find?

I don't want to knock these people because I appreciate anybody that promotes space research. The problem is that I have a hard time weeding out the ones who aren't in the position to succeed, or the ones that are just trying to get a foot in the door for a more commercial enterprise.

My question could probably be extended in scope, to consider why not all of the projects you have stated, are not receiving adequate funding. Maybe the answer is as simple as low visibility, no tv advertisements. I must admit, that I would not have been aware of the b612 foundation if not for an interest in asteroids.

LoneTree1941
2013-Jul-10, 02:05 AM
There's The Planetary Society:
Planetary Society's Shoemaker Grant program supports astronomers following up potentially hazardous asteroids.

http://www.planetary.org/explore/projects/neo-grants/

Unfortunately TPS doesn't have a lot of revenue, but they do their best with what they have

DougSpace
2013-Jul-10, 05:13 AM
$450 million is a lot of money even for a billionaire. Also, there are other worthy ideas needing the money (e.g. child survival programs in Africa, stamp out polio, women's literacy, etc). But also, is the $2 million that has been donated a pledge or has the money already been handed over. If the later, then it could be money wasted to the donor if the total amount is not raised.

Concerned
2013-Jul-10, 09:37 PM
$450 million is a lot of money even for a billionaire. Also, there are other worthy ideas needing the money (e.g. child survival programs in Africa, stamp out polio, women's literacy, etc). But also, is the $2 million that has been donated a pledge or has the money already been handed over. If the later, then it could be money wasted to the donor if the total amount is not raised.

I dont doubt that there are 'worthier' causes. My consideration is that, all the effort that has been done to resolve such issues i.e world hunger, child poverty, would be wiped out, and much more made worse, if we just ignored other factors, i.e asteroid threats.

Whilst I agree with your consideration, there is also a case, for the other thing.

Concerned
2013-Jul-10, 09:37 PM
thank you for the link.

Concerned
2013-Jul-10, 09:38 PM
There's The Planetary Society:
Planetary Society's Shoemaker Grant program supports astronomers following up potentially hazardous asteroids.

http://www.planetary.org/explore/projects/neo-grants/

Unfortunately TPS doesn't have a lot of revenue, but they do their best with what they have

thank you for the link.