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Rep. Rohrabacher Statement on Meteor Explosion Over Russia: Should Serve As A Wake Up Call

Feb 15, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher ( R-CA), Vice Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee,  issued the following statement in response to the meteor explosion over Russia earlier today:

"This should serve as a wake-up call.

"We have been looking forward to the close pass of asteroid 2012 DA14, which will pass between the Earth's surface and our communications satellites this afternoon.  We have calculated that there is no chance this asteroid will impact the Earth, and that we will get an opportunity for a close-up view as it flies past.  Unfortunately, we didn't see the one that exploded over Russia until it happened.

"We have been spending millions to find and track asteroids and comets, but the indications are that this one was so small that we aren't even looking for objects of this size.  What concerns me even more, however, is the fact that we have no plan that can protect the Earth from any comet or asteroid.  So, even if we find one that will hit us, we might not be able to deflect it.

"This is the only preventable natural disaster, and we have mounting evidence that this a real and tangible danger.  Our heartfelt prayers go out to all those affected by this event and this shows that we must protect ourselves, and the planet, from this clear danger.

"As Vice Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, I'm working with the Chairman to expedite a hearing on planetary protection from these 'near Earth objects' as soon as we can."