It is time for the private sector to aid in the search for potentially city-destroying asteroids and meteors, lawmakers said during a hearing Wednesday.
The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology made the call while hearing from NASA scientists and private-sector asteroid hunters during a hearing titled "Threats from Space," with both groups agreeing that something more needs to be done.
"Detecting asteroids should not be the primary mission of NASA," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, said at the hearing. "No doubt the private sector will play an important role as well. We must better recognize what the private sector can do to aid our efforts to protect the world."
The meeting Wednesday was the second of three aimed at understanding the threat to Earth posed by asteroids in space. The first hearing took place in late March, and addressed the ways governmental entities, such as NASA and the Air Force, are mitigating the risks posed by close-flying space rocks. The meetings were scheduled in response to a surprise meteor explosion over Russia and the close flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 — both of which occurred on Feb. 15
The hearing is available here.