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19 Jun, 2008 10:16

Russian radar to help save the Earth?

Russian radar to help save the Earth?

A U.S. congressman has suggested using a Russian radar together with American optical systems to monitor asteroid threats to Earth. The suggestion came during the discussion of a NASA funding bill approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The bill committed the U.S. to cooperating with other countries for prevention of any potential asteroid hazard.

Dana Rohrabacher, the deputy chief of the House’s committee for international organisations, said powerful long-range radar was necessary for early identification of asteroids that could collide with Earth. Russian military radar near Ussuriysk in the Far East can do this job, the congressman said.

The head of Russia’s space agency Anatoly Perminov said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency he approved of the idea. He offered his support if the project is discussed with the Defence Ministry.

Russia is no stranger to the dangers from space. It experienced a major meteor impact in the wilderness of the Krasnoyarsk Krai region a hundred years ago.

The Tunguska explosion was estimated to be a thousand times more powerful then the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It was considered pure luck that the meteor didn’t land in a populated area where it would have caused mass destruction and loss of life.