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Focus on asteroids

Czech institutes take part in the study of an asteroid flying in the vicinity of Earth today

Prague, February 15th 2013 – Several small meteorites impacted Russia causing damage this morning. Bigger asteroid will pass by Earth in its close proximity this evening. Not only Czech academic and university departments, which are occupied with observing the proximity of Earth, are studying such phenomena. 

In the research and the design of systems that would reduce the threat to Earth, which is caused by asteroids and fluctuations of cosmic weather, is the European space agency (ESA) engaged as well. Regarding this matter, ESA launched Space Situational Awareness (SSA) program in 2009.

“Apart from several injuries and damages, also Russian telecommunications operators reported problems. The meteorite flying through the Earth’s atmosphere caused disturbances in the ionosphere, which reflects long range radio signals between ground stations of telecommunication operators. Such disturbances in the ionosphere influence even the function of GPS-type navigation systems,” explains Jaroslav Urbář from the Czech space office.

Within the SSA program for observing the state of outer space, ESA intents to forecast effects of solar eruptions, to find and to specify possibilities of impacts of near-Earth asteroids and to detect contingencies of potential collisions with satellites orbiting Earth. “Czech republic entered the SSA program in the beginning of this year (2013). This should enable Czech experts in aforesaid fields to cooperate on projects on European level,” adds Jaroslav Urbář.