Washington – The US space agency Nasa wants help in identifying all potentially hazardous
asteroids zooming through the solar system.
Nasa is calling on other countries, other government agencies, universities and
backyard astronomers in what it is calling a "Grand Challenge" to
detect and characterise potential threats from space.
"Nasa already is working to find asteroids that might be a threat to
our planet, and while we have found 95% of the large asteroids near the Earth's
orbit, we need to find all those that might be a threat to Earth," Nasa
deputy administrator Lori Garver said.
The space agency is paying more attention to asteroids as it aims to send
astronauts on a mission to a nearby asteroid in preparation for an eventual
trip to mars.
The potential danger of asteroids entering the Earth's atmosphere
was highlighted by a meteor that burnt up in a blinding fireball in February over
central Russia, creating a shockwave that blew out windows and collapsed some
walls, leaving about 1 000 people injured.