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Britain Appoints Team To Save World From Asteroids

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  • Jeroen Kumeling
    ... SIGHTINGS ... Britain Appoints Team To Save World From Asteroids 1-4-00 LONDON (AFP) - Britain s Science Minister Lord Sainsbury on Tuesday named a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2000
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      Britain Appoints Team To Save World From Asteroids

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      LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Science Minister Lord Sainsbury on Tuesday named a
      three-man task force to study the risks of the Earth being destroyed by a
      giant asteroid.

      The team is tasked with making proposals to the British National Space
      Centre on how the country can best contribute to international efforts to
      protect the planet from a strike from space.

      The task force will be chaired by Harry Atkinson, 70, a past chairman of the
      European Space Agency's Council.

      The other members were named as Crispin Tickell, 69, an environmental expert
      and diplomat who was Britain's permanent representative to the United
      Nations between 1987 and 1990, and David Williams, a 62-year-old professor
      of astronomy at University College, London, who formerly worked for NASA.

      They are due to report by mid-2000.

      Lord Sainsbury said: "The risk of an asteroid or comet causing substantial
      damage is extremely remote.

      "This is not something that people should lie awake at night worrying about
      but we cannot ignore the risk, however remote, and a case can be made for
      monitoring the situation on an international basis.

      "I hope that the setting up of this task force will help the UK play a full
      and prominent role in international discussions on this important issue."

      Of the known asteroids and comets, which scientists have dubbed near Earth
      objects, none is believed to pose a significant risk to the planet in the
      near future, according to government data.

      However, over the past millions of years the Earth has been hit by objects
      of sufficient size to cause serious damage, including an impact about 65
      million years ago which is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs.



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