Indie Rock Band Broken Bells Donating Ticket Sales to Asteroid-Hunting Telescope Project
Artist's Illustration of the B612 Foundation's Sentinel mission, which will search for potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroids.
Credit: B612

An indie rock band and a foundation created to protect the planet from hazardous asteroids might sound like an unlikely pair, but the band Broken Bells and the B612 Foundation are teaming up to raise money for planetary protection.

Broken Bells will donate $1 from every ticket sold on their West Coast tour to the B612 Foundation's Sentinel mission — a space telescope designed to hunt for dangerous near-Earth asteroids. Planned for launch in 2018, the private space-based observatory should survey the sky to find 90 percent of asteroids larger than about 460 feet (140 meters), space rocks that are large enough to possibly cause serious regional damage if they hit Earth.

The band's April tour includes two performances at the Coachella festival and a special show in Los Angles, Calif. After the Los Angeles show on April 15, the band and B612 will host an after party with special guests and telescopes set up by astronomers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. [See photos of the Sentinel Space Telescope]

"The mission of the B612 Foundation is to create the first comprehensive and dynamic map of the inner solar system to provide early warning of dangerous asteroid impacts as well as prepare the path for future exploration," B612 officials said in a statement. "Sentinel will be the world's first and largest privately funded deep space mission. To date, all telescopes combined have identified only 10 percent of the more than one million asteroids which we need to know about to protect us; Sentinel will find the other 99 percent."

Broken Bells' West Coast tour dates include:

  • April 10 - Tempe, AZ - The Marquee
  • April 11 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
  • April 13 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
  • April 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theatre
  • April 16 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey's
  • April 18 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
  • April 19 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater

Asteroids are fascinating for lots of reasons. They contain a variety of valuable resources and slam into our planet on a regular basis, occasionally snuffing out most of Earth's lifeforms. How much do you know about space rocks?
Earth Causes Asteroid-Quakes
0 of 10 questions complete
Asteroid Basics: A Space Rock Quiz
Asteroids are fascinating for lots of reasons. They contain a variety of valuable resources and slam into our planet on a regular basis, occasionally snuffing out most of Earth's lifeforms. How much do you know about space rocks?
Earth Causes Asteroid-Quakes
0 of questions complete
Upon its launch, Sentinel will orbit in a Venus-like path around the sun for a 6.5-year mission. Sentinel officials expect that the telescope will find more than 20,000 asteroids in the first month of operations in space, and by the end of its mission, officials predict that the telescope will discover approximately 500,000 near-Earth asteroids.

"The B612 Foundation believes that humanity can harness the power of science and technology to protect the future of civilization on this planet, while extending our reach into the solar system," officials wrote on the foundation's website. "Our view is that we are not passengers on Space Ship Earth — we are the Crew."

To learn more about the Broken Bells concert tour, visit: http://www.brokenbells.com/tour/.

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.