By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – NASA is getting more serious about the junk flying around space.

Because sometimes the stuff hits us.

I’m not talking about the junk you saw terrorizing Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity.” I mean space rocks. Asteroids.

NASA only used to track the big ones, asteroids a hundred-feet wide or more. But after a smaller sized meteor exploded over Russia last year with the force of 40 Hiroshima-type atom bombs, scientists realized they might be missing something apocalyptic.

Indeed, the threat is greater than first thought.

Turns out those smaller asteroids are as much as seven times more likely to hit the Earth, as outlined in several studies published this week in the journals Nature and Science.

And now NASA and FEMA are also reviewing plans to evacuate cities and alert the public without scaring people.

Well, I don’t know about you but I’m already scared. I also saw the movie “Armageddon” and I can tell you that Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck are not going to save us.

Sure NASA says it’s working on ways to land on an asteroid.

But that plan is years away and at the rate we’re going in Washington, the space agency may never get the money to do that.

And that’s the point here.

We can look for asteroids all we want. But the United States doesn’t even have its own vehicle to get into space. The shuttle program is dead and it will not be replaced for years. Assuming we have the money and the interest.

In the words of the great Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom, “No bucks no Buck Rogers.”

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz



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