[meteorite-list] Amateur Asteroid Chasers May Get Rewards
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:32:46 2004
Amateur asteroid chasers may get rewards
March 4, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amateur astronomers could receive awards of $3,000
for discovering and tracking near-Earth asteroids under legislation
approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
"Given the vast number of asteroids and comets that inhabits Earth's
neighborhood, greater efforts for tracking and monitoring these objects
are critical," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, sponsor of the legislation
that passed 404-1.
Astronomers estimate there are between 900 and 1,100 near-Earth
asteroids with a diameter of at least one kilometer -- about
six-tenths of a mile -- or larger. Of those, nearly 700 already
have been discovered and cataloged.
Asteroids capable of inflicting damage on a global scale hit the
Earth roughly every million years. An asteroid is believed
responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
The bill, which still needs Senate action, directs the NASA
administrator to make the awards, based on recommendations by the
Smithsonian Minor Planet Center.
One award is to be issued annually to the amateur astronomer or
group of amateurs who in the previous year discovered the
intrinsically brightest, near-Earth asteroid. Another award would
go to the amateur who makes the greatest contribution to the Minor
Planet Center's mission of cataloguing near-Earth asteroids.
Received on Thu 04 Mar 2004 11:45:15 AM PST