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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

January 25, 2010

SEARCH FOR DANGEROUS ASTEROIDS AND COMETS BEING SHORT CHANGED

A new report from the National Research Council says the $4 million the U.S. spends annually to search for near-Earth objects – asteroids and comets that could pose a hazard - is insufficient to detect NEOs that could threaten Earth.

Congress mandated in 2005 that NASA discover 90 percent of NEOs whose diameter is 140 meters or greater by 2020, and asked the National Research Council in 2008 to form a committee to determine the optimum approach to doing so. In an interim report released last year, the committee concluded that it was impossible for NASA to meet that goal, since Congress has not appropriated new funds for the survey nor has the administration asked for them.

The report also recommends that NASA monitor for smaller objects – those down to 30 to 50 meters in diameter -- which recent research suggests can be highly destructive.


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