Monday, December 3, 2018

NASA can't get enough funding for telescope to detect asteroid that could wipe out life on Earth

Republicans just gave away $1,445 billion dollars in tax breaks, mostly to billionaires and corporations, so of course they’re going to have trouble finding $40 million to fund a telescope that could prevent an extinction-level event:
A former NASA astronaut says the agency he used to work for has a duty to protect civilians from killer asteroids, but that it isn't meeting that obligation….
Russell "Rusty" Schweickart, a retired astronaut who flew on the Apollo 9 and Skylab missions, says there is a solution in waiting for this problem: NASA can launch the Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam), which is a small infrared observatory, into space.
"It's a critical discovery telescope to protect life on Earth, and it's ready to go," Schweickart told Business Insider at The Economist Space Summit onNovember 1…..
They argue it could get done by raising the House of Representatives' proposed budget for NASA planetary defense by another $40 million (up from $160 million to $200 million) and by sharing a rocket ride with a spacecraft called IMAP, which the agency plans to launch in 2024….
It remains to be seen what the Trump administration will decide to do with NEOCam in the next NASA budget, and if Congress authorizes that funding.

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