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Asteroids tracked by NASA. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA is constantly tracking potentially dangerous asteroids in Earth's vicinity, and now a new tool allows anyone to explore their paths through the solar system.

Why it matters: There are about 28,000 near-Earth asteroids and comets tracked by astronomers to make sure they don't pose a risk to our planet.

Details: The interactive tool allows anyone using it to zoom in on specific asteroids of interest in order to learn more about the objects and their orbits.

  • Another feature of the tool allows users to see the next five close approaches of asteroids to Earth.
  • "We were keen to include this feature, as asteroid close approaches often generate a lot of interest," Jason Craig, one of the developers of the tool, said in a statement.
  • "The headlines often depict these close approaches as ‘dangerously’ close, but users will see by using Eyes just how distant most of these encounters really are."

What's next: A NASA mission called DART is currently on its way to impact a near-Earth asteroid and learn how to redirect it.

  • That type of tech could come in handy if one of these possibly dangerous space rocks is ever found on a collision course with Earth.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 11, 2022 - Science

To the Moon or bust in 2022

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Future lunar ambitions, scientific advances and national prestige are front and center for missions to the Moon launching this year.

Why it matters: As the International Space Station program winds down, the Moon is only going to take on more strategic importance in the coming years. The lunar alliances of space-faring nations have implications for science, business and geopolitics back on Earth.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker