A Bill to Reward Asteroid Hunters

Not all new space legislation is as earth-shaking as the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004.

Congress is now moving on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's (R-CA)
House Resolution 1023 (HR 1023) -- the Charles `Pete' Conrad Astronomy Awards Act -- a bill that would reward amateur astronomers who discover and track near-Earth asteroids.

To be eligible for cash awards under the bill, an amateur astronomer must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident at the time of the discovery or contribution. Awards would be set up by the NASA Administrator based on the recommendations of the Minor Planet Center of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

The bill, now moving forward, passed the science committee of the House on March 17.

And yes, the bill is named for
Pete Conrad, who, as we know, was the third person to walk on the Moon. He survived space but died in motorcycle wreck in 1999 in Ojai, California. (And it is said that Ojai is a Native American word for . . . moon.)

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