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The UK's Spaceguard Centre is a key player in tracking near-Earth objects


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The Spaceguard Centre, in Powys, is a working observatory which tracks "near-Earth objects".

NEOs are comets and asteroids which could hit Earth.

Its director, Jay Tate, established the centre in 1997.

He was concerned at a lack of co-ordination in the UK and internationally to counter the threat.

An asteroid the size of a cricket pitch could take out a city the size of London.

"It's very, very rare for your house to burn down, but you still take out insurance."

The centre is is currently limited to simply tracking rather than finding objects

But now has a 7.5-tonne telescope donated by Cambridge University.

"One of our jobs is to persuade everyone else that this is important."

Maybe why it's also known as the National Near Earth Objects Information Centre.

Space objects aren't in lockdown so glad someone is still keeping any eye out for existential risks

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Jay Tate

Director, The Spaceguard Centre