Planetary Defense - Just Send Money

NASA says it could find most killer asteroids by 2020, but doesn't have money to do it, AP

"The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this week. The report was previewed Monday at a Planetary Defense Conference in Washington."

NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study

"Griffin complimented the thoroughness of the study. He stated that NASA is not funded to do anything more than the current detection program. Members discussed the origin of the congressional language and its intent. SMD Associate Administrator Mary Cleave suggested that NASA should not be in the business of building and operating ground-based telescopes but that portion of any program could be done in partnership with the National Science Foundation."

NASA Authorization Act of 2005: Conference Report (Final)

Subtitle C--George E. Brown, Jr. Near- Earth Object Survey SEC. 321. GEORGE E. BROWN, JR. NEAR-EARTH OBJECT SURVEY.

(a) SHORT TITLE.--This section may be cited as the ''George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act''.

(b) FINDINGS.--The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Near-Earth objects pose a serious and credible threat to humankind, as many scientists believe that a major asteroid or comet was responsible for the mass extinction of the majority of the Earth's species, including the dinosaurs, nearly 65,000,000 years ago.

(2) Similar objects have struck the Earth or passed through the Earth's atmosphere several times in the Earth's history and pose a similar threat in the future.

(3) Several such near-Earth objects have only been discovered within days of the objects' closest approach to Earth, and recent discoveries of such large objects indicate that many large near-Earth objects remain undiscovered.

(4) The efforts taken to date by NASA for detecting and characterizing the hazards of near-Earth objects are not sufficient to fully determine the threat posed by such objects to cause widespread destruction and loss of life.

(c) DEFINITIONS.--For purposes of this section the term ''near- Earth object'' means an asteroid or comet with a perihelion distance of less than 1.3 Astronomical Units from the Sun.

(d) NEAR-EARTH OBJECT SURVEY.--

(1) SURVEY PROGRAM.--The Administrator shall plan, develop, and implement a Near-Earth Object Survey program to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of near-Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter in order to assess the threat of such near-Earth objects to the Earth. It shall be the goal of the Survey program to achieve 90 percent completion of its near-Earth object catalogue (based on statistically predicted populations of near-Earth objects) within 15 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2) AMENDMENTS.--Section 102 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 U.S.C. 2451) is amended--

(A) by redesignating subsection (g) as subsection (h);

(B) by inserting after subsection (f) the following new subsection: ''(g) The Congress declares that the general welfare and security of the United States require that the unique competence of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration be directed to detecting, tracking, cataloguing, and characterizing near-Earth asteroids and comets in order to provide warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such near-Earth objects to the Earth.''; and (C) in subsection (h), as so redesignated by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, by striking ''and (f)'' and inserting ''(f), and (g)''.

(3) FIFTH-YEAR REPORT.--The Administrator shall transmit to the Congress, not later than February 28 of the fifth year after the date of enactment of this Act, a report that provides the following:

(A) A summary of all activities taken pursuant to paragraph (1) since the date of enactment of this Act.

(B) A summary of expenditures for all activities pursuant to paragraph (1) since the date of enactment of this Act.

(4) INITIAL REPORT.--The Administrator shall transmit to Congress not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act an initial report that provides the following:

(A) An analysis of possible alternatives that NASA may employ to carry out the Survey program, including ground- based and space-based alternatives with technical descriptions.

(B) A recommended option and proposed budget to carry out the Survey program pursuant to the recommended option.

(C) Analysis of possible alternatives that NASA could employ to divert an object on a likely collision course with Earth.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 5, 2007 8:04 PM.

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