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NASA only has a 10% chance of detecting deadly asteroids before they strike Earth

NASA’s near-Earth object (NEO) tracking program has only, thus far, been able to identify 10 percent of the medium-sized asteroids that might pose a threat to human life and civilization — meaning that if such an object were to head our way, it more than likely would go undetected.

“[G]iven its current pace and resources… [the program] will not meet the goal of identifying 90 percent of such objects by 2020,” NASA Inspector General Paul Martin wrote in a report released September 15.

In the past five years, the NEO tracking program has seen a 10-fold increase in its budget, from $4 million to $40 million per year. Since 1998, the space administration has spent $100 million on the endeavor — all aimed at the goal of tracking 90 percent of dangerous asteroids by 2020. Yet according to the report, this increased spending has not led to improved tracking capabilities.

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