NASA calls on amateur astronomers to locate 'destructive' smaller asteroids

Washington, June 24 : NASA has asked amateur astronomers to help them identify the smaller asteroids that are capable of wiping out a city or worse when they impact with Earth.

NASA has reportedly coined the initiative, 'The Asteroid Grand Challenge,' which focuses on asteroids that are just 30 to 40 meters in size, and not the bigger, planet-busting asteroids most of which have already been found, Fox News reported.

Brian Muirhead, NASA's chief engineer, told National Geographic that they need to increase the frequency of identification of asteroids such that they are able to track and characterize them.

According to scientists, as many as 95 percent of asteroids larger than 1 kilometer have been discovered, but 99 percent of 30 to 40 meter size near-earth-objects (NEO) are still to be discovered.

NASA issued the challenge after an 18-meter-long NEO reportedly exploded above Russia four months ago and injured more than 1,000 people, another asteroid, the size of a small truck, missed Earth by a margin measuring less than the distance to the moon.

--ANI (Posted on 24-06-2013)

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