Commercial Space and Near-Earth Asteroids: . Status Report. The Problem: NASA has spent hundreds of $B without increasing humanity’s access to space .
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being built (Vandenberg)
“SpacePort America”, Virgin Galactic (Richard Branson) etc.
90% of ‘the big ones’ (>1 km) have been found.
Meaning: Chances of an ELE – w/o warning – have decreased.
(1998 order by the US Congress to identify 90% of NEOs larger than 1 kilometre across by the end of 2008)
New goal: 2005, Congress asked NASA to extend the search down to objects 140 metres across, which can wreak havoc on smaller regions of the Earth, by 2020.
Other good news:
We’ve got the first President, ever, who without being prompted told the head of NASA he wanted to take protecting Earth from NEOs more seriously.
- Obama Adm. Diddesignate NASA as agency for finding them; but,
- like predecessors, still has not put anyone in charge of ‘mitigating’ incomings when (not if) they are found.
Just as importantly, any decision to protect Earth against an incoming requiresinternational coordination ー which is not in place or agreed upon yet.