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Asteroid Watch

September 2, 2009

Citizens can now track nearby asteroids online or via Twitter.


Keeping tabs on nearby asteroids. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

For years, NASA has been tracking asteroids and comets flying near Earth, to make sure nothing gets too close. Now, you can keep up with their sightings, with the new website Asteroid Watch. Project manager Don Yeomans of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says it’s all laid out in plain language.

DON YEOMANS (NASA – Jet Propulsion Laboratory):
Still, it’s accurate and up to date, and we have news notes, we have a widget that you can download that gives the next five close approaches of asteroids to the Earth, there is a Twitter feed you can take advantage of…

… This may sound anxiety-provoking, but Yeomans hopes it will actually reduce fear — by showing that NASA’s on the ball, and that even nearby asteroids almost never pose a threat. What’s more, since NASA can predict an object’s path up to a century in advance, we should have ample time to thwart a potential collision if we spot one. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.