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Russia's meteor  (Source: gannett-cdn.com)
NASA needs funding for small meteor defense

NASA told Congress to "pray" if a meteor similar to the one that hit Russia last month is ever three weeks away from the U.S.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden Jr. told Congress that the U.S. doesn't have the proper equipment to identify a small meteor (the size of Russia's meteor) in a House Committee hearing on Tuesday.

"If it's coming in three weeks ... pray," Bolden said. "The reason I can't do anything in the next three weeks is because for decades we have put it off. We are where we are today because, you know, you all told us to do something and between the administration and the Congress, the funding to do that did not - the bottom line is always the funding did not come."

The U.S. is able to detect larger meteors (and offset them a bit by crashing a spacecraft into them, thus slowing them down and changing their course) with plenty of in advance, but smaller objects are more difficult because the sun blinds satellites. That's precisely why Russia didn't see the meteor coming -- and neither did the U.S. 

Had the meteor not stayed intact for only seconds longer, it would have had the impact of 20 Hiroshima bombs once hitting Russia, according to a CBS News report

Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, said that the U.S. needs a space-based infrared telescope to see smaller objects coming. This particular telescope would work because the sun wouldn't be an issue in blocking sight of the objects. 

Yeomans also suggested ground-based wide field optical telescopes that could keep an eye on large parts of the sky at night. 

The space-based infrared telescope would cost "a few hundred million dollars."

However, government funding remains an issue. Bolden said NASA was budgeted only $20.5 million for its near-Earth object observation program for fiscal 2012. 

While NASA doesn't see any large meteors coming toward Earth in the foreseeable future (and current large meteor detection equipment would know decades in advance), small meteors need to be taken seriously as well to prevent destruction. 

The Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russia on February 15, 2013. It was estimated to be traveling at 40,000 MPH and was about 11,000 tonnes. 

Source: CBS News



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RE: Translation
By Spuke on 3/20/2013 7:15:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Maybe when you guys finally wind down your imperialist wars of aggression in both the middle east and asia you'll be able to fund space exploration more comprehensively again.
So we're Imperialists? And Europe never was, of course. :rollseyes: Also, didn't know we were having a war in Asia. Guess I need to watch the news more often.

quote:
Money is so much better spent discovering the universe (even if only in the immediate vicinity of planet earth), than it is when spent on blowing people to bits.
Ok, reality check time. I do NOT agree with our foreign policy AT ALL!! But a FAIR chunk of the reasoning for doing what we do is so others don't have to. Your military budgets are much smaller because we do what you don't/won't. If we shrunk our military to your levels, you guys just might have to fight your own damn battles. Honestly, I don't have a problem with that and considering our fiscal issues (DOD is under a big budget cut at the moment and the cuts are to go on for 10 years) I see that as a REAL possibility. People here are up in arms over government spending (which includes the military) and once we're out of the middle east, I don't expect much military involvement for a LONG time.

If you want a glimpse at the future of US involvement, look at how we're handling Iran and North Korea. I can tell you that 15 years ago, there would've been military strikes in Iran already. In all honesty, neither of those countries pose any threat to us, just to our allies which is the ONLY reason we're involved at all. I even see that role diminishing.


RE: Translation
By Reclaimer77 on 3/20/13, Rating: 0
RE: Translation
By JediJeb on 3/21/2013 8:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
We don't agree all the time, but I can agree now. How many colonies did countries like England, Spain, France, Portugal, and other European nations have in Africa in the past? For that matter how many of those nations had colonies here in what is now the US? Maybe the Europeans are just still angry with the US because when we threw off their reigns and found independence it started a domino effect that cost European countries most all of their colonies around the world.


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