House to Hold Hearing on Asteroid Threat

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 05:11 PM

By David Yonkman, Newsmax Washington Correspondent

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The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on the threat from space objects after a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere above Russia and an asteroid fly-by on Friday.

"As the world leader in space exploration, America has made great progress for mankind. But our work is not done," Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said. "We should continue to study, research, and explore space to better understand our universe and better protect our planet.”

The announcement comes after an unforeseen meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb. Its sonic blasts damaged thousands of buildings and injured about 1,100 people.

Also on Friday the 150-foot Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed 17,000 miles from Earth, although it had been determined that it would not impact the planet.

"I find it rather ironic that the same day that an asteroid we've known about for a year passed within a few hundred miles of Earth, a meteorite caught us completely off guard, causing a great deal of damage, and injuring hundreds," the chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, tells Newsmax.

"Most folks don't walk around on a daily basis worrying about these kinds of hazards, but today's events prove that there is a need to have conversations about these threats," the Mississippi Republican said. "Clearly we have some work to do, and clearly planetary defense is a timely topic for us to consider on the committee. I think people will be paying closer attention to these topics as a result of today's events."

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