Have We Finally Gotten Congress’s Attention?

Lamar Smith:

“Fifty years ago, we would have had no way of seeing an asteroid like this coming. Now, thanks to the discoveries NASA has made in its short history, we have known about 2012 DA14 for about a year. As the world leader in space exploration, America has made great progress for mankind,” Smith continued. “But our work is not done. We should continue to study, research, and explore space to better understand our universe and better protect our planet.”

The chairman announced a hearing in the coming weeks to examine ways to better identify and address asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth.

I hope they have Ed Lu testify.

[Update a while later]

Jeff Foust has more.

5 thoughts on “Have We Finally Gotten Congress’s Attention?

  1. Thomas Matula

    Yes, and to call NASA on the carpet for not taking this as their central goal, as was recommended as long ago as 1995.

    http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/gov_aiaa95.cfm

    [[[In his opening statement to the Congressional hearings on the NEO threat on March 24, 1993, George E. Brown, Jr. stated:

    "If some day in the future we discover well in advance that an asteroid that is big enough to cause a mass extinction is going to hit the Earth, and then we alter the course of that asteroid so that it does not hit us, it will be one of the most important accomplishments in all of human history."]]]

    Sure its not as “sexy” as searching for bacteria on Mars, but its far more important to the security of the nation and the future of humanity.

  2. Al

    NASA should, at the very least, relinquish all of the Earth-facing duties to NOAA andor NRO, and all of the pure research to NSF.

    Then maybe they would at least be searching for a clue in the correct ballpark.

  3. Robin Goodfellow

    NASA can’t do fuck-all without congress approving of it and funding it. Just like all federal agencies the policy and funding are set from the Whitehouse and Congress.

  4. Gregg

    This might be one of those times where an effort by one or two people can make a big difference:

    We’re looking at possible apps for Cubesat. Small modular cubes which you can fly individually or connect a few together. We’re wondering if useful X-ray science can be done with them.

    But there might be some other apps. Unfortunately they are, perforce, small light buckets so there might not be much use for them in the asteroid location app. But who knows?

    There’s a conference in Rome:

    http://www.cubesat.org/index.php/workshops/upcoming-workshops/124-2012summerworkshoppresentations

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