Legislative action

Earlier this week the House Science Committee approved several bills, including a couple of minor bills with implications for NASA. One bill, HR 426, would authorize $15 million a year from FY2006 through 2010 for NASA to fund “pilot projects that use government and commercial remote sensing capabilities and other sources of geospatial information to address State, local, regional and tribal agency needs.” The other, HR 1022, would support a program for NASA to track near Earth objects (NEOs) as small as 100 meters in diameter (current tracking efforts are focused on objects one kilometer or larger), authorizing $20 million in FY06 and 07. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), the sponsor of HR 1022: “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.”

2 comments to Legislative action

  • Could this be yet another chance to create a new commercial market? NASA offers to pay $X to discover each asteroid of a certain class size, then sells mining rights to recover the costs :)

  • Matthew Brown

    Yeah Spacewatch gets double the funding, maybe time to dig out my proposal for an automated search program. Where you take 2 or more (idealy 5 so weather doesn’t become an issue) telescopes point it at the same spot in the sky at the same time, and take a picture.

    A computer compares the images and locates any differences.. the difference will be a NEO.

    Do some basic trig and you can get a rough distance from earth.

    Compare this to a database of known NEO’s, if unknown repeat the process the next night at the same spot of the sky to begin to plot its orbit.

    Same basic technique that amatuers do today, but instead of having the reference images split by distance, its split by time. it takes longer to do with just one telescope.

    And this technique has been proven recently, a highschool student got a scholarship for doing just this setup a year or two ago. I remeber seeing that and say hey she stole my idea.. ;) but really glad its proven, and at least someone got their college paid for. I do know there are rarely ever an origional idea, its who ever gets published first. (besides its all about protecting us)

    personally the passing of the bill is the best news ive seen in some time. Getting hit is my personal nightmare that has kept me a space advocate, after the romance wore of so long ago.