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NASA Finally Creates a Planetary Defense Coordination Office

(Image: TriStar Pictures)

In the glorious 1997 action movie Starship Troopers, insect-like aliens began their war against humanity by diverting an enormous asteroid to impact on and destroy the city of Buenos Aires, killing over 8 million people. 19 years later, the United States government is finally taking the bug menace seriously.

NASA has created and poured money into a new task force called the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. This organization is responsible for developing effective means of defending our homeworld from asteroid strikes. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

It will be a costly operation. NASA's program for tracking asteroids and other objects in near-space ran on $4 million in 2010, but it received $20.4 million in 2012, and the budget doubled to $40 million in 2014, according to a NASA statement. The 2016 US budget provides $50 million to set up a Planetary Defense Coordination Office. […]

A planetary defense system gives NASA a ready answer for the next time news reports of too-close asteroids alarm the populace.

"While there are no known impact threats at this time, the 2013 Chelyabinsk super-fireball and the recent 'Halloween Asteroid' close approach remind us of why we need to remain vigilant and keep our eyes to the sky," John Grunsfeld, an administrator for for Washington-based NASA Science Mission Directorate, said in a NASA report.

-via Ace of Spades HQ

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