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Computer simulation of an object from the Late Heavy Bombardment period ~4 billion years ago striking a modern earth. It is inferred from craters on the moon that several objects perhaps as large as 100 km or more may have struck the earth during this time.

In the wake of last month's dramatic cosmic visitor lighting the dawn skies of Chelyabinsk, the U.S. House Committee on Science scheduled a long overdue hearing. Giant stony-rocky-snowball missiles, barreling near earth at miles per second; huge potential for damage and/or huge potential for resources?

Congressional leaders want to know if the government is doing all it can to spot potential space threats in time to possibly respond. NASA's Near Earth Objects Program, commonly called SpaceWatch, keeps an eye out for bodies approaching Earth and says it has identified nearly 1,400 potentially hazardous asteroids in space.  NASA was tracking the asteroid that passed by Earth on Feb. 15, it did not know about the meteor that caused the explosion over Russia.
Alas, the predicted and unrequited snow-pocalypse postponed what would have been a fascinating talk. For now I'll go ahead and guess a government drowning in a bathtub wrapped in a sequester isn't doing all it can on much of anything ...
  • The year 2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for another kind of visitor. The Bad Astronomer has a wrap up of those cometary neighbors including one that may be visible tonight!
  • Rep. Adam Schill (D-CA) opines on how the sequester will impact planetary science:
    It is my understanding that the planetary science program can withstand these cuts if they are of short duration, but if they continue, there will undoubtedly be consequences for the world's most amazing workforce and for science.
  • Just in case you needed an excuse for more red wine and chocolate, there it is.
  • I'm shocked, shocked I say!
    Global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by SciTech.

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