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Post Info TOPIC: Near-Earth Object Survey Act


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Near-Earth Objects
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The four other major NEO surveys include the MIT Lincoln Labs-Air Force LINEAR project at Soccorro, N.M.; UA's Spacewatch -- the pioneering NEO survey founded by Tom Gehrels and directed by Robert McMillan; Lowell Observatory's LONEOS at Flagstaff; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's NEAT program.



Last year, LINEAR discovered 137 NEOS, of which 22 were at least a kilometre in diameter and 20 were classified as potentially hazardous asteroids. Spacewatch discovered 82 NEOs, of which 10 were at least a kilometre in diameter and 8 were classified as potentially hazardous. The same numbers for LONEOS were 42 NEOs, 4 at a kilometre or larger and 10 potentially hazardous; and for NEAT were 38 NEOs, 9 at a kilometre or larger and 8 potentially hazardous.

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/stats/

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NEOs
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The Catalina Sky Survey discovered more near-Earth objects (NEOs) than any other sky survey in 2005. That includes more NEOs larger than a kilometre in diameter, as well as smaller objects that potentially threaten Earth.

The University of Arizona's NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) is directed by Stephen M. Larson of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. It is among a handful of surveys in NASA's 10-year, congressionally-mandated Spaceguard program that aims to discover at least 90 percent of the one-kilometre near-Earth asteroids and comets by the end of 2008. If an object even a third as large (300 meters) hit Earth, it would explode with 24 times the energy of the world's largest thermonuclear bomb explosion, a 58 megaton Soviet bomb exploded in 1961.

CSS astronomers discovered 310 NEOs, or 49 percent of all NEOs discovered in 2005. That's a record-breaking number of discoveries for any NEO survey, ever.

Of these, 29 objects are at least a kilometre across, and 40 are classified "potentially hazardous asteroids," objects large enough and close enough to Earth to bear watching. All other Spaceguard surveys found a total 46 potentially hazardous asteroids last year.

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L

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Near-Earth Object Survey Act
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The American House Science Committee today favourably reported out four bills related to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

By voice votes, the Committee passed H.R. 50, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Act; H.R. 2364, to establish a Science and Technology Scholarship Program to award scholarships to recruit and prepare students for careers in the National Weather Service and in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine research, atmosphere research, and satellite programs; H.R. 426, Remote Sensing Applications Act; and H.R. 1022, George E. Brown Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act.

"All of these bills will improve our lives through increasing our understanding of the Earth, how it works and what may threaten it. As usual, these bills represent a bipartisan effort. I look forward to their passage." - Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) Science Committee Chairman.

H.R. 1022, also introduced by Rep. Rohrabacher, would establish a program within NASA to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical properties of near-Earth asteroids and comets equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in order to assess the threat of Earth being struck by such near-Earth objects. The bill would authorize appropriations for the program of $20 million for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2007.

"The potential catastrophe of an asteroid hitting Earth should no longer be ignored. We need to know what is out there. Accounts of asteroids passing close to Earth with almost no prior warning should be enough to get our attention. The first step is to assess the threat. Given the vast number of asteroids and comets that inhabit the Earth's neighbourhood, greater efforts for tracking and monitoring these objects are critical. This bill would direct NASA to expand their current program to track and detect potential threats and would provide a funding authorization. Any threat that would wreak havoc on or world should be studied and prevented if possible. We have the technology, we need the direction - this bill provides that." - Rep. Rohrabacher.

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