The Ultimate Movie Plot Threat: Killer Asteroids
There’s not enough money to track them:
NASA officials say the space agency is capable of finding nearly all the asteroids that might pose a devastating hit to Earth, but there isn’t enough money to pay for the task so it won’t get done.
The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this week. The report was previewed Monday at a Planetary Defense Conference in Washington.
Congress in 2005 asked NASA to come up with a plan to track most killer asteroids and propose how to deflect the potentially catastrophic ones.
“We know what to do, we just don’t have the money,” said Simon “Pete” Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center.
The hardest risks to evaluate are the ones with very low probability of occurring and a very high cost if they do. Large-scale terrorist attacks are like that; so are asteroid collisions.