Feb 17, 2007
The threat of an asteroid hitting the Earth is being taken more and more seriously as more and more NEOs are found. At the moment, Nasa is monitoring 127 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that have a possibility of hitting the Earth. In the US, Congress has charged Nasa with the task of starting a more detailed search for life-threatening space rocks. "Congress has said that Nasa's efforts to date are not sufficient to the threat." Nasa estimates that there are about 20,000 potentially threatening asteroids yet to be discovered. The UN is drafting a treaty to establish who should be in charge in the event of an asteroid heading towards Earth, who would pay for relief efforts and the policies that should be adopted. In addition, it would set out possible plans to deflect the object. "This has gone from being an esoteric statistical argument to talking about real events." Astronomers are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which is about 140 metres long, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036. An asteroid that size could take out an entire city or region.