Thursday, May 19, 2005

Well, It's Better Than Nothing I Guess..............



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Science Committee today favorably reported out four bills related to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

By voice votes, the Committee passed H.R. 50, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Act; H.R. 2364, to establish a Science and Technology Scholarship Program to award scholarships to recruit and prepare students for careers in the National Weather Service and in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine research, atmosphere research, and satellite programs; H.R. 426, Remote Sensing Applications Act; and H.R. 1022, George E. Brown Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act.

"All of these bills will improve our lives through increasing our understanding of the Earth, how it works and what may threaten it," Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said. "As usual, these bills represent a bipartisan effort. I look forward to their passage."

And of course the one part of this bill that I care significantly about is the following-

H.R. 1022, also introduced by Rep. Rohrabacher, would establish a program within NASA to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical properties of near-Earth asteroids and comets equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in order to assess the threat of Earth being struck by such near-Earth objects. The bill would authorize appropriations for the program of $20 million for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2007.

Rep. Rohrabacher said, "The potential catastrophe of an asteroid hitting Earth should no longer be ignored. We need to know what is out there. Accounts of asteroids passing close to Earth with almost no prior warning should be enough to get our attention. The first step is to assess the threat. Given the vast number of asteroids and comets that inhabit the Earth's neighborhood, greater efforts for tracking and monitoring these objects are critical. This bill would direct NASA to expand their current program to track and detect potential threats and would provide a funding authorization. Any threat that would wreak havoc on or world should be studied and prevented if possible. We have the technology, we need the direction – this bill provides that."

But only $20 million? That's it?

2006 Fiscal Year Budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration=$16.2 billion. Out of $16 billion being spent on NASA, we can only come up with a measly $20 million to track and locate Near Earth Objects.

This is retarded.

Here are the estimated tsunami effects what if the asteroid 2004 MN4 landed in the pacific ocean in 2036.

2004MN4 Impact Tsunami Simulation (Quicktime)

And in the Gulf Of Mexico

2004MN4 Impact Tsunami Simulation (Quicktime)

$20 million?

From the B612 Foundation

A Call to (Considered) Action
Presented at the National Space Society International Space Development Conference, Washington, DC
By Russell L. Schweickart, Chairman, B612 Foundation

May 20, 2005

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to call upon the Congress of the United States to initiate, via the National Research Council or other appropriate body, a formal analysis of the circumstances presented by the close encounter between the Earth and asteroid 2004MN4 in April 2029, and the potential for a subsequent collision with Earth in 2036. Informal analysis indicates that the accuracy of our knowledge of the asteroid’s trajectory using optical and radar tracking is likely to be inadequate to make a timely deflection decision in the improbable event that one should be needed. Should this claim prove to be correct after formal analysis serious consideration should be given to placing a radio transponder on 2004MN4, perhaps as one of several scientific objectives. This mission should be launched in the near future in order to provide adequately accurate trajectory information about the asteroid by 2014, the approximate date by which a deflection mission decision, if required, would have to be made.

You can read the entire proposal here- A Call For Action(pdf).

$20 million? That's it?

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