Washington Post: To protect Earth from asteroid strikes, the nonprofit B612 Foundation is planning to launch a privately funded deep-space mission by 2017 or 2018. Sentinel, a space telescope that will orbit around the Sun at about the distance of Venus, will use its IR camera to look for asteroids large enough to pose a danger to Earth. Such early warning would allow time to prepare a mission to deal with the potential hazard. To cover the projected cost of the telescope—“a few hundred million dollars,” according to B612’s website—the foundation is accepting donations. “This is crowdsourcing but on a grand level,” said physicist Ed Lu, one of B612’s founders. Sentinel isn’t the first privately funded deep-space mission—that honor goes to Planetary Resources, which in April announced an ambitious project to build space-based telescopes to seek and mine asteroids—but it is the first to specifically have a nonprofit motive.