This is pretty funny and kind of serious at the same time. There is alot of things that should be done about this but also on a world scale. Here is
If the link's doesnt work here is the whole story.
Concerned Citizens Ask for Congressional Action on Near Earth Objects
Thu Jul 10, 9:34 AM ET
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer, SPACE.com
A distinguished group of Americans joined together to send a unique request to Congressional leaders Wednesday -- a request that preparations be made
to deal with the prospect of Earth being slammed by an asteroid or comet.
In an "Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects," the communication underscores the danger our planet faces from near Earth objects, also
The letter has been sent to President Bush (news - web sites) and his cabinet, the Secretary General of the United Nations (news - web sites) and to
leaders around the globe.
Included among those that urged action on the NEO issue were: Apollo 17 Astronaut, Harrison Schmitt; Neil Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium;
Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of Princeton University; Lucy Ann McFadden, NEO scientist at the University of Maryland; New York University
professor and author, William Burrows; John Lewis, a scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson; and Thomas Jones, former astronaut and veteran of
four shuttle missions.
Potentially devastating threat
"We write to you today as concerned citizens, convinced that the time has come for our nation to address comprehensively the impact threat from
asteroids and comets," the letter begins.
The overall aim of the Open Letter is start a process to educate national leadership about the real threat posed by worrisome comets and asteroids
that can approach Earth:
"A growing body of scientific evidence shows that some of these celestial bodies, also known as Near Earth Objects (NEOs), pose a potentially
devastating threat of collision with Earth, capable of causing widespread destruction and loss of life. The largest such impacts can not only threaten
the survival of our nation, but even that of civilization itself."
Three step effort
The letter urges U.S. lawmakers to take a series of three steps, thereby shaping a coordinated program to deal with the impact threat:
Step 1: NEO Detection - Expand and enhance this nation's capability to detect and to determine the orbits and physical characteristics of NEOs.
Step 2: NEO Exploration - Expand robotic exploration of asteroids and Earth-approaching comets and direct that U.S. astronauts again leave low-Earth
orbit … this time to further explore certain NEOs in deep space for information required to develop an effective capability to deflect an NEO should
we learn that one threatens life on Earth.
Step 3: NEO Contingency Planning - Initiate comprehensive contingency planning for deflecting any NEO found to pose a potential threat to Earth. In
parallel, plan to meet the disaster relief needs created by an impending or actual NEO impact. U.S. government/private sector planning should invite
international cooperation in addressing the problems of NEO detection, potential hazards and actual impacts. This step also advocates establishment of
an Interagency NEO Task Force to address the NEO Impact Threat. This Task Force should be composed of senior representatives from appropriate
Resources committed to the NEO work have been very modest, an enclosure to the Open Letter declares, "and not commensurate with the potential
threat." What is warranted is additional investment in search programs, deemed by the letter's supporters as both "appropriate and prudent."
A dramatic improvement in the rate at which asteroids and comets are discovered would likely result if the United States were to increase the current
level of funding, now at about $3.5 million per year, to at least $20 million annually, the letter's enclosure explains.
The Open Letter concludes: "For the first time in human history, we have the potential to protect ourselves from a catastrophe of truly cosmic
"We cannot rely on statistics alone to protect us from catastrophe; such a strategy is like refusing to buy fire insurance because blazes are
infrequent. Our country simply cannot afford to wait for the first modern occurrence of a devastating NEO impact before taking steps to adequately
address this threat."
A leader in scripting the NEO Open letter is former shuttle astronaut, Thomas Jones. He is a veteran space traveler of shuttle missions, STS-59, 68,
80, and 98.
Contacted by SPACE.com, Jones said he is hopeful that the Open Letter stirs Congress to take action. But he is also realistic.
"It may very well take an impact to shake things up and make the government act," Jones said. "But since it's a basic responsibility of government
to provide for the common defense, and since that mission is spread over many agencies, we thought that Congress is the right body to address the
hazard, and to direct a joint approach."
If Congress takes no action, Jones said that he and the other supporters hope the President will act in response.
"It seems no one agency desires to take the lead on this, but since many have roles to play, from Homeland Security to Defense to NASA (news - web
sites), our hope is that Congress can direct a concerted plan of action," Jones told SPACE.com.
"We already devote taxpayer funds to disaster preparedness in advance of other natural hazards, and so we call for a similar, prudent approach to
studying and countering the impact hazard," Jones concluded.