JPL and the Space Age: The Hunt for Space Rocks

Space Age

Asteroids and comets are among the oldest objects in our solar system. They mostly reside at safe distances from Earth, but some find their way into our planetary backyard. Every day, the Earth receives visitors from outer space: tons of space debris that mostly goes unnoticed. Some of these “shooting stars,” however, do survive the fiery descent through the atmosphere. That’s what happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago when a massive asteroid – or comet – struck Earth. But as the saying goes: “The dinosaurs didn’t have a space agency. Fortunately, we do.” “The Hunt for Space Rocks” chronicles JPLs pioneering work to understand asteroids and comets as part of NASA’s larger effort to protect our planet from cosmic marauders. From JPL’s effort to mount a mission to study the most famous comet of all – Halley’s comet – to the lab’s current role in planetary defense with its Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). The documentary drives home a clear message: We need to find the asteroids and comets before they find us.

Credit NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory