NASA issues asteroid 'Grand Challenge' to all

NASA calls on industry, academia, government agencies, and citizens alike to find ways to identify and ward off asteroid threats.

The giant asteroid Vesta as captured by the Dawn spacecraft.

Are you up for a challenge? How about a Grand Challenge? NASA on Tuesday issued a Grand Challenge aimed at locating all asteroid threats to Earth and figuring out what to do about them.

It seems the asteroid threat has really picked up steam lately. We've had some close fly-bys. Some scientists have suggested nuking asteroids if they get too near. NASA has an initiative to lasso an asteroid for closer study. It's been asteroid fever around the planet lately.

You don't have to have a string of initials behind your name or a place on the roster of a science agency to participate in this challenge. It's open to all, including citizen scientists.

"NASA already is working to find asteroids that might be a threat to our planet, and while we have found 95 percent of the large asteroids near the Earth's orbit, we need to find all those that might be a threat to Earth," said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver in an announcement.

Along with the challenge, NASA issued a request for information for ideas on locating, redirecting, and exploring asteroids. If you or your organization has been spending some of brain power on the asteroid problem, then now is the time to share your thoughts.