Mar 13, 2007
Everybody duck and cover. Last week NASA shrugged and told Congress that it neither has the funding nor the resources to meet its goal of identifying 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) 150 yards or more in diameter by 2020.
It seems that NASA has passed the buck it claims it doesn't have to other space agencies, institutions and facilities, saying NEA tracking is not a question of feasibility but funding. This includes not having available dedicated telescopes, including the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, which will probably close or have its operations severely downgraded by 2011. (See this and this.) It is bad enough that we may lose Arecibo, which is one of the best-suited for the job of planetary watchdog, but NASA says it will have to rely on the kindness of others to do even the preliminary work to meet the goals called for by Congress in NASA's 2005 authorization bill.
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