Time for Europe to beef up asteroid vigilance

RUSSIAN FEDERATION, - : A handout photo taken on February 15, 2013, and provided by Chelyabinsk region police department shows a police officer standing near a six-metre (20-foot) hole in the ice of a frozen lake, reportedly the site of a meteor fall, outside the town of Chebakul in the Chelyabinsk region. Divers scoured today the bottom of a Russian lake for fragments of a meteorite that plunged to Earth in a blinding fireball whose shockwave injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes. AFP PHOTO / CHELYABINSK REGION POLICE DEPARTMENT
Europe must strengthen its watch for dangerous space rocks, the head of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) asteroid surveillance program said on February 21, a week after a meteor struck Russia in a blinding fireball. Nicolas Bobrinsky, in charge of ESA’s 4-year-old Space Situational Awareness (SSA) program, said his unit would inaugurate a center in Rome on May 22 to coordinate observatories’ sightings of passing asteroids.

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