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http://space.com/news/neo_hearing_040408.htmlDespite progress in tracking dangerous near-Earth asteroids that could wipe out humanity if headed our way, there is still a long way to go to safeguard the human race, engineers, scientists and astronauts told a Senate committee Wednesday.
Astronomers have a good handle on the number of potential devastating near Earth objects (NEOs), asteroids and other objects more than one kilometer in diameter with orbits that swing by our planet. The impact threat from those objects is rare, occurring once every 100,000 years or so.
But more support is needed to track smaller objects, on the order of 100 meters wide, which are more common and could strike the planet every 1,000 years, scientists said during a hearing on NEOs before the Senate's Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space.
"The impact of a 100-meter asteroid on Earth would cause significant damage," said Lindley Johnson, program manager of NASA's Near Earth Objects Observation Program to track the large objects. "And our systems are just not designed to find the small ones." [continued]