Update 9pm: Wednesday afternoon’s hearing has been postponed by more terrestrial issues. An impending snowstorm (dubbed by some the “Snowquester”) expected to hit the DC area on Wednesday led the House to decide to adjourn for the week by midday Wednesday, prompting the postponement. No new date for the hearing has been announced.
On the day last month that a meteor disintegrated over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and a larger asteroid made a close flyby of the Earth, the chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), said he would “expedite a hearing on planetary protection” from asteroids and comets. He is following through on that with a hearing of the full committee tomorrow afternoon titled “Threats from Space: A Review of U.S. Government Efforts to Track and Mitigate Asteroids and Meteors, Part 1″. The hearing features three key officials: Office of Science and Technology Policy director John Holdren, Air Force Space Command commander Gen. William Shelton, and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. The “part 1″ implies that at least one more hearing (perhaps involving experts on near Earth objects) is planned, although not formally scheduled yet.