Congress, NASA

Next week: “Threats from Space,” the sequel

When the House Science Committee met last month to discuss the threats posed by near Earth objects (NEOs), they indicated that there would be at least one other hearing on the topic in April. That hearing has been scheduled: “Threats from Space: A Review of Non-U.S. Government Efforts to Track and Mitigate Asteroids and Meteors, Part II” is planned for the afternoon of April 10. It will again be the full committee, rather than just the space subcommittee, convening for this hearing.

Unlike the first hearing, which heard from key officials including NASA administrator Charles Bolden and Presidential science advisor John Holdren, this hearing instead features subject matter experts: Ed Lu, chairman and CEO of the B612 Foundation (which is seeking to raise funding for a NEO detection mission called Sentinel); Donald Yeomans, manager of the NEO Program Office at JPL; and Michael A’Hearn, a University of Maryland astronomy professor who served as vice-chair of the National Research Council’s Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, which released a report in 2009 on the topic.

20 comments to Next week: “Threats from Space,” the sequel

  • JimNobles

    What’s the best that could come out of this? A little extra money to the B612 Foundation funneled through NASA?

  • amightywind

    I am astounded by the tone deafness and monomania of asteroid hysterics, even while Kim Jong Un prepares a real nuclear attack on America. Asteroid hysterics are the most specialized of special interests I have even seen.

  • JimNobles

    amightywind said, “I am astounded by the tone deafness and monomania of asteroid hysterics, even while Kim Jong Un prepares a real nuclear attack on America.”

    Asteroids, meteors and etc. are hot right now mainly because of recent events in Russia.

    Few people are taking North Korea seriously mainly because sane people realize that if Kim and company do something stupid it would be a profound mistake. The question is whether any of those sane people are advising Kim. Some people have more faith in that than I do.

    Do you think we should hit North Korea first? And if so what would be your assessment of the ramifications of that?

    (I apologize if this actually turns into an off-topic sub-thread.)

    • amightywind

      My point is only we have much more serious matters to attend to without giving equal time to asteroid impact preppers.

      • JimNobles

        amightywind said, “My point is only we have much more serious matters to attend to without giving equal time to asteroid impact preppers.”

        Okay, fair enough.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        Both the Senate and House foreign affairs committees have already conducted hearings on North Korean threats and policy this year:

        http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/us-policy-toward-north-korea

        http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/hearing-north-korea%E2%80%99s-criminal-activities-financing-regime

        And there were more hearings on North Korea last year and the year prior:

        http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-112hhrg73815/content-detail.html

        http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=e85bfd8f-5056-a032-528b-0969fbfd6ecc

        You might remember that this is a space policy, not asian security, blog, and do a little research instead of giving into your monomania, tone deafness, and hysterics.

        • Malmesbury

          To deal with North Korea going postal -

          1) Detection systems, elaborate, complex, multi layered. Check
          2) Multiply redundant conventional forces. Check
          3) Nuclear force, also multiply redundant. Check

          To counter asteroids.

          1) ?

          • A M Swallow

            To counter asteroids:

            1) Tiny
            Detection = Not needed. Destroyed by Earth’s atmosphere. Check
            Defense = watch natural firework show. Check
            Action = None needed. Check

            2) Small
            Detection = World wide network of telescopes to detect at least 20 minutes in advance.
            Defense = Pass warning to relevant civil defense organization via the UN. Tell people in the blast area to shelter under a table from flying glass. (Similar to nuclear ‘Duck and Cover’)
            Action = Create observer network, possibly in space. Set up UN body to pass information very quickly. Make films showing people what to do. Supply copies to TV stations.

            3) Medium
            Detection = World wide network of telescopes to detect 2-3 days in advance.
            Defense = Pass warning to relevant civil defense organization vie the UN.
            Evacuate the area. Supply housing and consumables to the survivors.
            Warn people in surrounding areas to shelter under a table from flying glass.
            Action = Enhance civil defense plans to allow anywhere in the world to be evacuated. Create observer network, possibly in space. Set up UN body to pass information very quickly. Stock pile temporary housing able to last months, water and food. Train people in organizing evacuations and refugee camps. Make films showing people what to do. Supply copies to TV stations. (Some Medium and Small threat actions may be similar.)

            4) Large
            Detection = World wide network of telescopes to detect 2-3 days in advance. It may be possible to detect some threats months or years in advance using existing equipment. Check
            Defense = Destroy or divert incoming threat. Backup: try using Medium asteroid Defense.
            Action = Set up research programs to devise prototype methods of destroying and/or diverting space objects like meteors and asteroids. NASA can organize the telescopes and the DoD the destruction.

            • World wide network of telescopes to detect 2-3 days in advance.

              A world-wide network of telescopes is inadequate for that. We had absolutely no warning of the Chelybinsk event, even though we’ve been looking for objects like that. We need to be looking for them from well inside earth’s orbit, so we’re not looking into the sun. That’s why the B612 Foundation was established.

              • A M Swallow

                Chelybinsk was a small asteroid not a medium sized one. So the Action was “Create observer network, possibly in space.”

                So if the telescope has to be on a satellite well inside the Earth’s orbit around the sun, so be it.

      • Uncle Sam

        Amightywind… You are wasting your wind on this site unless your PRIMARY worry for the world is a NEO strike. You have to stick to the subject of the article. I have been guilty of drifting too. Anyway you are right. Head-in-the-Sand is how attacks like Pearl Harbor and 911 happen.

  • JimNobles

    Malmesbury said, “To counter asteroids.”

    It looks like the main countermeasure to asteroids is the one we’ve always depended upon, living with the odds.

    Maybe we’ll get better options soon.

  • I’m more interested in seeing if these Congresscritters actually do anything or they’re just going through the pretense of caring.

    My guess is they’re sorting through all this trying to figure out ways to direct pork to their districts. We already saw of that in the last hearing with the guy whose district includes the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory trying to get Charlie Bolden to commit to sending the research work there.

  • TINY-SMAL-MEDIUM-LARGE; OBSERVE-TOUCH-EARLY-OFTEN

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>