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UK government responds to near Earth objects report
Posted: Sun, Feb 25, 2001, 1:16 PM ET (1816 GMT)
The British government released a response Saturday to a report by a task force last year on the threat posed by near Earth objects (NEOs). The response, issued by Science Minister Lord Sainsbury, was largely supportive of the task force's recommendations but short on concrete action. Sainsbury did recommend that the UK work with the European Southern Observatory — a multinational organization Britain is in the process of joining — to either build a new 3-meter telescope or refurbish existing 2- to 4-meter telescopes in Chile to look for NEOs. Sainsbury also announced that the British National Space Centre would take the lead role in coordinating NEO work in the UK, and that Britain would work with the European Space Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to see that NEO issues are handled on an international level. The overall response emphasized efforts to detect NEOs, leaving the "complex and controversial issue" of how to deal with the threat for future study.
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