In reaction to last night’s meteorite impact in Russia, Lamar Smith, who now chairs the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has announced he will hold a hearing to
identify more pork for Houston’s space industry “examine ways to better identify and address asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth.”
Today’s events are a stark reminder of the need to invest in space science. Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed just 17,000 miles from Earth, less than the distance of a round trip from New York to Sydney. And this morning, a much smaller meteorite hit near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging buildings and injuring hundreds.
Developing technology and research that enable us to track objects like Asteroid 2012 DA14 is critical to our future. We should continue to invest in systems that identify threatening asteroids and develop contingencies, if needed, to change the course of an asteroid headed toward Earth.
Fifty years ago, we would have had no way of seeing an asteroid like this coming. Now, thanks to the discoveries NASA has made in its short history, we have known about 2012 DA14 for about a year. As the world leader in space exploration, America has made great progress for mankind. But our work is not done. We should continue to study, research, and explore space to better understand our universe and better protect our planet. [my emphasis]
So if you’re a Republican, it is okay to invest in efforts to stop asteroids from hurdling to Earth (if they’re going to hit us or an ally). But not okay to invest in efforts to stop climate change from doing far more damage, far more frequently.