Members of the B612 Foundation were at the California Academy of Sciences to announce they plan to launch a new space telescope to map half-a-million asteroids orbiting near earth. Currently, less than 1 percent has been cataloged.
The goal is to let humans nudge threatening asteroids years in advance so they won't impact earth.
"All you need to do is change the orbit of an asteroid, change its speed by a fraction of a mile per hour and that's enough to keep an asteroid from hitting the earth, if you do it many decades in advance of the impact," CEO Ed Lu said.
The Sentinel telescope will begin its five year mission by the year 2018. The project will be paid for with public donations.