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Hazards from Near-Earth Objects April 30, 2010

Posted by skywalking1 in Space.
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The Stuff of Asteroids: This chunk of the carbonaceous chondrite, Murchison, which fell in Australia in 1969, is probably from the most common type of asteroid seen in the Main Belt. About a hundred tons of meteoritic material falls on us daily. (Smithsonian Institution).

Word of Mouth, an NPR program in Concord, New Hampshire, invited me on Thursday to discuss the hazards from Near-Earth Objects (comets and asteroids orbiting in Earth’s vicinity). The link to the interview (about 8 minutes) is here. We still don’t know what’s out there that might pose a threat to Earth, but the situation is improving: next year’s NASA budget has about $20 million, a four-fold increase, to enhance the search for hazardous NEOs.

NEO detection, and preparation for an eventual deflection, is not an expensive proposition, but it is vital insurance for our civilization. Complete preparation for future deflection of a rogue asteroid would cost far less than NASA’s next Mars exploration mission, with costs spread over ten years or so.

www.AstronautTomJones.com

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