near-Earth asteroid

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near-Earth asteroid

(NEA) Any asteroid that has a chance of hitting our planet, specifically any member of the Apollo, Amor, and Aten groups. Although the annual probability of the Earth being struck by a large asteroid or comet is extremely small, the consequences of such a collision are so catastrophic that it was thought prudent in the USA to assess the nature of the threat and to be prepared to deal with it.
References in periodicals archive ?
Near Earth asteroids are confirmed at a rate of more than 900 per year, but as yet little is known about their composition and structure.
Under a unique and innovative arrangement between SpaceDev and the University, SpaceDev intends to fly the camera on one of its planned commercial deep space missions, with the current target being a near earth asteroid.
Deep Space believes there are thousands of near Earth asteroids that will be easier to chase down than this one.

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