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NASA Offers Cash Rewards For Amateur Asteroid Hunters

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NASA image of the asteroid Eros taken from a 2000 space probe. (Getty Images)

NASA image of the asteroid Eros taken from a 2000 space probe. (Getty Images)

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PASADENA, Calif. (CBS Tampa) – Now could be your chance to save the world from a deadly asteroid.

While you wouldn’t be taking to space with Bruce Willis, you could help find space rocks that threaten the Earth and make a little money in the process.

Live Science is reporting NASA and asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources are teaming up to announce a contest called “Asteroid Data Hunter.”

“Protecting the planet from the threat of asteroid impact means first knowing where they are,” said Jenn Gustetic, NASA Prizes and Challenges Program executive. “By opening up the search for asteroids, we are harnessing the potential of innovators and makers and citizen scientists everywhere to help solve this global challenge.”

This is the first contest stemming from NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge. It’s expansive goal is to find all potentially dangerous space rocks and figuring out how to protect us here on Earth.

It could also help humanity’s exploration of the solar system.

“Current asteroid detection initiatives are only tracking one percent of the estimated objects that orbit the sun,” said Planetary Resources president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki.

The contest kicks off March 17th and runs through August. There are $35,000 in prizes to be awarded.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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