back to article Report: US planetsmash-asteroid scan running years late

An official study by a heavyweight science and technology panel has said that "there has been relatively little effort by the US government" to tackle the threat to planet Earth from possibly devastating asteroid strikes. Politicians in Washington have directed NASA to make a start on dealing with the issue, but without …


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  1. The Indomitable Gall
    Dead Vulture

    1km in size...?

    Oh tut-tut, El Reg, arbiter of all-things accurate, talks about space rocks "bigger than 1km in size." A three-dimensional object measured as a single dimensional scalar? I assume this is "longer than 1km".

    I shall be cancelling my subscription etc (cont. p97)

  2. Mick F

    We're Doomed!!!

    Aye doomed.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    No shock there...

    "there has been relatively little effort by the US government" to tackle the threat to planet Earth from possibly devastating asteroid strikes...

    That's cos they really know we're all gonna drown from global warming... They don't mind because they will all be rich from the oil money by then, and be able to afford a suite on the international space station whilst they wait for the planet to recover.

    Mine's the one with the built in floatation device.

  4. Dick Emery

    What's the point?

    Knowing about it is not going to stop it. From what I know of, most scenarios involve trying to divert the objects course. This may be possible with meteors but asteroids are trickier.

    By the time we find out about it it will probably be too late anyhow.

  5. Dale 3

    Daily Mail

    The Daily Mail and its kin should be funding this. Since there isn't a lot we can do about it (despite what Hollywood tells us), a database of space rocks would only really be of use to the tabloids, who could use it to get one last cash-in before their latest "we're all gonna die" headline comes true.

  6. Stevie Silver badge


    You mean we *don't* have two specialised space shuttles, asteroid rovers c/w advanced technology drilling gear and a crack team of astronaughts and roughneck drillers standing by?

    Azathoth on a bike! Another failure of the Arch Socialist Obama and his Cabal of America-hating Congressmen and Senators to rise to the occasion. They've had *months* to get this sorted!

  7. Sureo
    Thumb Down

    Not to worry

    Of all the hazards I might care to worry about this one is not even on the list. Not surprising most countries devote "negligible resources" to it.

  8. Charles Smith

    The UK scheme

    The UK has launched a similar scheme to spot the planet smashing asteroids after they have landed. This require a low investment from tax payers and will be 100% accurate. Tenders are invited for administration of the scheme.

    A government spokesman says this is an excellent investment of the projected $500 Million cost.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Fund it all this way

    Lock down the database, and sell queries to interested parties!

    How much will England pay to find out if London's got a bulls-eye painted on it? Maybe the French will outbid them?

  10. Charles Manning

    Why spend the money?

    Why do the survey if there is no technology to take care of the problem?

    Once a reasonable candidate technology has been discovered there will be ample time to do the survey while the weaponry is being built.

  11. OmniCitadel
    Dead Vulture

    Well lets face it

    We could not do any thing about it after all... so whats the point...

    I'll take my bullet with a blindfold and a cigarette please.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "there's yer problem!"

    "Politicians in Washington have directed NASA to make a start on dealing with the issue, but without supplying any funds"

    They're trying to do this with all of NASA's projects, including the Shuttle successor, and various legislative attempts at keeping the Shuttle flying for free.

  13. Another Anonymous Coward 1

    Serves us right, really...

    Asteroid splats Earth, wipes out humanity and all because we could spare a few hundred mil to keep an eye on the sky.

    So many things on this world aren't done because "we can't afford to", in reality, there is no money, only allocation of resources and manpower. There is always the physical capability to achieve these things.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    To all the idiots that...

    ..say why bother looking for them if we can´t do anything about them?

    How the bloody hell are they gona know what to do about them if they don´t study them first? You got to know what you are dealing with before you can take any action against it you dumb shits.

    ¤"&¤&//#%(/ idiots

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multinational plan underway

    Actually, there is a plan for different agencies to cooperate in detecting objects and for a suitable response which will likely involve the military.

  16. Bluewhelk

    Space guard

    Check out for info on the UK's efforts in tracking objects.

    Also quite a few of these are being initially found by amateurs, the smaller end of the range being harder though as you need a bigger 'scope == more money.

    The money is needed to do the accurate tracking required to accurately predict if the thing is going to hit or not.

    If an object that's going to hit the earth is identified early enough then there are things that can be done to shift it to an orbit that misses. A gentle push over a long time, using for example "Gravity Tractors", is much better than trying to nuke it (you just get hit by lots of smaller objects, same total energy though).

    Aliens cos they'll help us out (or are they the ones pushing them our direction?).

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