[meteorite-list] Asteroid Threat 'To Cease Within 30 Years'

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Aug 9 11:50:10 2004
Message-ID: <200408091550.IAA06594_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Asteroid Threat 'To Cease Within 30 Years'

By John von Radowitz
scotsman.com (United Kingdom)
August 9, 2004

Killer asteroids will essentially cease to be a threat within the next
30 years, a leading expert said today.

Scientists are discovering near-earth asteroids (NEAs) so fast that the
chances of one hitting the Earth with no warning is likely to become
minute, said Dr Benny Peiser.

Since 1995 the number of known NEAs had shot up from just 300 to 3,000.

By 2008, it was expected that 90% of the estimated 1,000 to 1,200
asteroids big enough to wipe out civilisation would be found, said Dr
Peiser, one of the world's leading asteroid experts from Liverpool John
Moores University.

The rest of these space rocks, measuring more than a kilometre across,
would probably be detected within the next 20 years.

Two powerful new telescopes due to start operating in the next few years
would find as many asteroids each month as have been discovered in the
last decade, said Dr Peiser.

"Within the next one or two generations we will no longer have asteroid
impact disaster movies," he said at a science briefing in London.

"The good news is we have now developed not just the knowledge about the
threat we face but also potentially the technology with which to deal
with it."

Future discoveries and space missions would provide information about
how to deflect an asteroid on collision course with the Earth.

Within 20 to 30 years, search systems would exist with the ability to
detect 90% of all NEAs larger than 150 metres across.

Dr Peiser said if an asteroid did hit the Earth it would be most likely
to strike an uninhabited region or an ocean.
Received on Mon 09 Aug 2004 11:50:07 AM PDT

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