Rohrabacher on Asteroid Agency (updated)

Wired News reports Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) of the U.S. House Committee on Science says he will push President Bush to take action on Rusty Schweickart's proposal to create a federal asteroid-response agency. The former Apollo astronaut talked about his idea at a recent International Space Development Conference (see Probe post).

(Apparently the Congressman didn't go for Rusty's other plan: to put a transponder on NEO 2004 MN4.)

As the article mentions, Rohrabacher has already introduced two asteroid-related House bills this session: The
Charles "Pete" Conrad Astronomy Awards Act, to set up an awards program for amateur astronomers who discover asteroids with near-Earth orbit trajectories, and the George E. Brown Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act, to require NASA to track near-Earth asteroids and comets of 100 meters or more in diameter. (NASA currently limits its catalog to objects of at least 1 kilometer in diameter.)

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Update/Correction, 6/10/05: Good thing blog posts are not chisled in stone. Here's Jeff Foust covering the report that both Rohrabacher and Schweickart deny advocating the creation of an asteroid agency (and that Wired News has corrected its article). Thanks, Jeff.

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