POLITICS
02/15/2013 01:57 pm ET | Updated Feb 15, 2013

House Science Committee Plans Asteroid Hearing

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced Friday that it will hold a hearing in the coming weeks over asteroids that pose a "potential threat to Earth" after a meteor exploded over Russia and an asteroid passed close to Earth.

“Today’s events are a stark reminder of the need to invest in space science. Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed just 17,000 miles from Earth, less than the distance of a round trip from New York to Sydney. And this morning, a much smaller meteorite hit near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, destroying buildings and injuring hundreds," said Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in a press release.

"Developing technology and research that enable us to track objects like Asteroid 2012 DA14 is critical to our future. We should continue to invest in systems that identify threatening asteroids and develop contingencies, if needed, to change the course of an asteroid headed toward Earth."

A meteor exploded over the Urals Friday, injuring more than 1,000 people. The Russian Academy of Sciences said that the object entered the atmosphere at 15-20 kilometers, or about 10 miles, per second and shattered into pieces 30 to 50 kilometers (about 20 to 30 miles) above the sky.

Asteroid DA14 is expected to pass within 17,200 miles of the Earth Friday -- with no chance of hitting it -- but it is still a unique event, according to HuffPost Science.

Click here to see HuffPost's Live Blog of the meteor.

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