New Bill To Study Asteroid Threat Is Now In Congress

Thanks to the efforts of California’s Representative, Dana Rohrabacher, a bill (H.R. 5587) has been introduced to Congress to study the threat of asteroid impacts on Earth.  The bill, titled: “To establish a United States Commission on Planetary Defense, and for other purposes.” is to spend not more than $2 million on establishing the commission for the purpose of:

    • (1) determine capabilities of United States Government entities, nongovernment organizations, foreign governments and entities, and international bodies to detect, characterize, and neutralize potentially dangerous Near Earth Objects (in this Act referred to as `NEOs’);
    • (2) identify and evaluate roles and responsibilities of United States Government entities to detect, characterize, and neutralize potentially dangerous NEOs;
    • (3) determine United States effectiveness in leading international efforts to detect, characterize, and neutralize potentially dangerous NEOs;
    • (4) build upon United States Government and foreign analyses, studies, and assessments, without duplicating efforts, to determine current and required NEO characterization and mitigation capabilities;
    • (5) identify and report on technology development required to provide effective planetary defense from dangerous NEOs; and
    • (6) investigate and report to the President and Congress on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures that can be taken to provide planetary defense.

While this is not funding for an actual search, it is funding that should allow us to understand what our capabilities are, what the threat is, and how to organize a united world-wide effort.  It’s a start!

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Science and Technology for review.   Check out the link above to view the complete bill, or this link for a more complete discussion.

Remember, every journey starts with one step…

Till next time,

RC Davison

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