Asteroid Affirmative



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Not Enough Funding



NASA cannot meet the Congressional mandate in the status quo – No new funding has been allocated towards NEO detection since 2005

CNN 09 (Betsy Mason, writer for CNN.com, “NASA falling short of asteroid-detection goals”, August 13th, 2009, Accessed 7/2/11, AH)

Without more funding, NASA will not meet its goal of tracking 90 percent of all deadly asteroids by 2020, according to a report released today by the National Academy of Sciences. The agency is on track to soon be able to spot 90 percent of the potentially dangerous objects that are at least a kilometer (.6 miles) wide, a goal previously mandated by Congress. Asteroids of this size are estimated to strike Earth once every 500,000 years on average and could be capable of causing a global catastrophe if they hit Earth. In 2008, NASA's Near Earth Object Program spotted a total of 11,323 objects of all sizes. But without more money in the budget, NASA won't be able to keep up with a 2005 directive to track 90 percent of objects bigger than 460 feet across. An impact from an asteroid of this size could cause significant damage and be very deadly, particularly if it were to strike near a populated area. Meeting that goal "may require the building of one or more additional observatories, possibly including a space-based observatory," according to the report. The committee that investigated the issue noted that the United States is getting little help from the rest of the world on this front, and isn't likely to any time soon. Another report is planned for release by the end of the year that will review what NASA plans to do if we spot a life-threatening asteroid headed our direction. Congress has mandated that NASA discover 90 percent of all near-Earth objects 140 meters in diameter or greater by 2020. The administration has not requested and Congress has not appropriated new funds to meet this objective. Only limited facilities are currently involved in this survey/discovery effort, funded by NASA's existing budget. • The current near-Earth object surveys cannot meet the goals of the 2005 NASA Authorization Act directing NASA to discover 90 percent of all near-Earth objects 140 meters in diameter or greater by 2020. • The orbit-fitting capabilities of the Minor Planet Center are more than capable of handling the observations of the congressionally mandated survey as long as staffing needs are met. • The Arecibo Observatory telescope continues to play a unique role in characterization of NEOs, providing unmatched precision and accuracy in orbit determination and insight into size, shape, surface structure, multiplicity, and other physical properties for objects within its declination coverage and detection range. • The United States is the only country that currently has an operating survey/detection program for discovering near-Earth objects; Canada and Germany are both building spacecraft that may contribute to the discovery of near-Earth objects. However, neither mission will detect fainter or smaller objects than ground-based telescopes.
NASA Budget key to detecting

Mason 09(NASA Falling Short of Asteroid Detection Goals, By Betsy Mason, August 12, 2009 is science editor for Wired.com, G.L)

Without more funding, NASA will not meet its goal of tracking 90 percent of all deadly asteroids by 2020, according to a report released today by the National Academy of Sciences. The agency is on track to soon be able to spot 90 percent of the potentially dangerous objects that are at least a kilometer (.6 miles) wide, a goal previously mandated by Congress. Asteroids of this size are estimated to strike Earth once every 500,000 years on average and could be capable of causing a global catastrophe if they hit Earth. In 2008, NASA’s Near Earth Object Program spotted a total of 11,323 objects of all sizes. But without more money in the budget, NASA won’t be able to keep up with a 2005 directive to track 90 percent of objects bigger than 460 feet across. An impact from an asteroid of this size could cause significant damage and be very deadly, particularly if it were to strike near a populated area. Meeting that goal “may require the building of one or more additional observatories, possibly including a space-based observatory,” according to the report. The committee that investigated the issue noted that the United States is getting little help from the rest of the world on this front, and isn’t likely to any time soon. Another report is planned for release by the end of the year that will review what NASA plans to do if we spot a life-threatening asteroid headed our direction.

Not Enough Funding



NASA is lacking funding for asteroid detection and can only identify 1/3 of possible threats.

Roeten 10 [Kevin, Conservative Columnist, Nolan Chart, “Asteroid coming to a location close to you,” February 14, 2010, SM, Accessed: 7/11/11, http://www.nolanchart.com/article7376_Asteroid_Coming_to_a_Location_Too_Close_to_You.html]

NEO Discovery Statistics shows many near earth objects that can easily collide with earth during orbit. Lindsey Johnson, (Near-Earth Project Manager/ NASA) said objects ranging from 460 to 3,280 feet can decimate an entire region of earth. In 8/09 only 6,000 of the approximated 20,000 objects which have this capacity for this destruction have been spotted because of a lack of funding by the federal government. Read Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | More funding needed to meet ...asteroid detection mandate. Because of the lack of funding, NASA has been able to identify only 1/3 of the asteroids that could be threats to earth.
NASA lacks the funding needed to reach the mandated goal of 90 percent detection of NEOs

IRWIN I. SHAPIRO et al in 10,( Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair FAITH VILAS, MMT Observatory at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, Vice Chair MICHAEL A’HEARN, University of Maryland, College Park, Vice Chair ANDREW F. CHENG, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory FRANK CULBERTSON, JR., Orbital Sciences Corporation DAVID C. JEWITT, University of California, Los Angeles STEPHEN MACKWELL, Lunar and Planetary Institute H. JAY MELOSH, Purdue University JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG, Universal Space Network, Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS, http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~planets/sstewart/reprints/other/4_NEOReportDefending%20Planet%20Earth%20Prepub%202010.pdf)

The United States spends about $4 million annually searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs), according to NASA.1 The goal is to detect those that may collide with Earth. The funding helps to operate several observatories that scan the sky searching for NEOs, but, as explained below, it is insufficient to detect the majority of NEOs that may present a tangible threat to humanity. A smaller amount of funding (significantly less than $1 million per year) supports the study of ways to protect Earth from such a potential collision (“mitigation”). Congress established two mandates for the search for NEOs by NASA. The first, in 1998 and now referred to as the Spaceguard Survey, called for the agency to discover 90 percent of NEOs with a diameter of 1 kilometer or greater within 10 years. An object of this limiting size is considered by many experts to be the minimum that could produce global devastation if it struck Earth. NASA is close to achieving this goal and should reach it within a few years. However, as the recent (2009) discovery of an approximately 2- to 3-kilometer-diameter NEO demonstrates, there are still large objects to be detected. The second mandate, established in 2005, known as the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act,2 called for NASA to detect 90 percent of NEOs 140 meters in diameter or greater by 2020. As the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies noted in its August 2009 interim report (NRC, 2009): Finding: Congress has mandated that NASA discover 90 percent of all near-Earth objects 140 meters in diameter or greater by 2020. The administration has not requested and Congress has not appropriated new funds to meet this objective. Only limited facilities are currently involved in this survey/discovery effort, funded by NASA’s existing budget. Finding: The current near-Earth object surveys cannot meet the goals of the 2005 George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act directing NASA to discover 90 percent of all near-Earth objects 140 meters in diameter or greater by 2020

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