The "good news is we probably have some time" before a giant asteroid comes hurtling toward Earth, says Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy. An object big enough to "wipe out a sizable portion" of the planet's population "only hits about twice every million years." The bad news is that nobody, except the United States, is doing anything to protect the world from the "big one." And we're only spending $5.5 million per year to track what space watchers call near-Earth objects, "and less than a million on researching ways to counter them." For years, scientists have been urging the United Nations to coordinate a global effort to save "humanity from the fate of the dinosaurs," but, outside Washington, world leaders seem to think it should be up to Bruce Willis, not them. Here, an excerpt:
Why, in this supposedly post-American world, is the United States expected to take the lead on this? Unlike, say, missile defense, asteroid detection and deterrence benefits all countries — if NASA does detect a potentially dangerous asteroid, chances are it's probably going to hit somewhere else. And unlike global warming, smaller developing countries can't say that the United States should accept more of the blame for asteroids. (Though Hugo Chavez could certainly try.)
Read the full article at Foreign Policy.
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