Caught Their Attention: House Committee Will Hold Hearing On Asteroids | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Caught Their Attention: House Committee Will Hold Hearing On Asteroids

The two hulking rocks hurtling toward Earth today seem to have caught Congress' attention: Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, is calling for a Congressional hearing on what we can do to protect our planet from asteroids.

He said the meteor that exploded above Russia and the massive asteroid that whizzed past Earth at 2:25 p.m. ET., are a "stark reminder of the need to invest in space science."

His statement continues:

"Fifty years ago, we would have had no way of seeing an asteroid like this coming. Now, thanks to the discoveries NASA has made in its short history, we have known about 2012 DA14 for about a year. As the world leader in space exploration, America has made great progress for mankind. But our work is not done. We should continue to study, research, and explore space to better understand our universe and better protect our planet."

Unfortunately, Wired has pretty grim news on that front. Their headline today: "There Is No Way to Stop Space Rocks From Hurtling to Earth and Killing You."

The magazine explains:

"'The reason, simply put, is physics,' explains Brian Weeden of the Secure Earth Foundation, a former captain and missile expert in the U.S. Air Force Space Command. Asteroids orbit the sun like Earth does, and occasionally our orbits intersect, causing the rocks to enter the atmosphere as flaming meteors screaming toward impact. They are not flying like airplanes and missiles that air defenses target. Shooting them will not change their speed or trajectory — at best, a missile impact might change its direction somewhat or shatter it into more pieces."

Smith said his committee will hold a hearing "in the coming weeks."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Diversity Sells — But Hollywood Remains Overwhelmingly White, Male

Women and minorities continue to be under-represented on TV and in film, both behind and in front of the camera, according to a new study — even though diverse films and shows make more money.
NPR

Silly, Saucy, Scary: Photos Show The Many Faces Of Ugly Fruit

Wonky produce can take on absurdly entertaining shapes. But one food activist says learning to love these crazy contours is key to stopping mounds of food waste.
NPR

Is The Battle Won And Done For Those Who Fought For Net Neutrality?

In a 3-2 vote on Feb. 26, the FCC approved new rules, regulating broadband internet as a public utility. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Mat Honan, San Francisco bureau chief for BuzzFeed News, about the political implications of the vote.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.