With science today largely funded by government, you knew it wouldn‘t be long before the recent asteroid encounter in Chelyabinsk, Russia would lead to well-meaning, but mostly hysterical cries that we MUST DO SOMETHING about it; “something” that costs a lot of money; “something” that involves thick scientific studies; and- the best part- “something” that promises no results for the fifty-to-a-hundred thousand years of program costs, run by the central and federal government of the US-of-A.
If we don’t do “something,” NOW they’ll say, we’ll risk plague, locusts, drought and the usual assortment of frogs lets loose by the Apocalyptos- both professional and amateur.
Crowds will soon gather at the foot of one monument or another in DC, and Bill Nye, the Science Guy, would lead a rally of chanting, jazz-handed protestors, all equipped with pocket protectors and short pants bought mostly by mom or grandma.
So if we want to spare ourselves THAT eventuality, we must do ”something” now.
Well, that “something” can take a lot of forms, but Peter Garretson a strategist at with the United States Air Force says gravely in The Space Review that: “IT’S TIME FOR A REAL POLICY ON ASTEROIDS.”
To think that all this time we’ve been putting up with a phony, make-do policy on asteroids. Who do we think we are? A bunch of dinosaurs?
Look what make-shift policy got them after 185 million years of do-nothing.
And they thought that they were SOOOOO cool.
Garretson then goes on to mention the usual suspects when it’s time to DO SOMETHING: The United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Congress, the US Air Force, NASA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Department of Energy.
I’m reading that list and thinking: It’s almost as if he wants a catastrophic asteroid to hit the earth—which of course he does.
And he’s not alone.
“How stupid if we got hit because we weren’t looking?” former astronaut Ed Lu, who runs a non-profit that cheers for asteroid collisions, told Wired Magazine. “That seems crazy to me.”
Yeah, it will be much better when the government spends lots of money on it, knows about it and does nothing.
For it’s part Wired Magazine, after admitting that asteroid collisions are rare- “Chelyabinsk-like events tend to occur between once every 10 years to once every century”- concludes with a bitter tear: “Unfortunately, U.S. legislators are preoccupied with other issues for the time being. Budgetary squabbles may lead the country to gut a significant portion of national spending as part of the sequester, including NASA funding.”
Not NASA funding!
Even with the whole asteroid problem threatening the fabric of our society, the very meaning of being an American at risk, we have not yet found a member of the US House of Representatives or a United States Senator who will stand up to say: “Fine. My state- or district- will selflessly host a government facility for the next the fifty-to-a-hundred thousand years, designed to track these objects that hit the earth once every 100 years, with all of the consequent public service union jobs, the construction contracts and defense budget authorizations and overruns that I can brag about to the folks back home.”
What has this country come to? Talk about dysfunctional government.
We allow people to protect themselves with guns but won’t do a thing about regulating and controlling the crazed, crack-addled asteroids?
It says so much about our priorities.
Because if the threat of asteroid collision isn’t real, it would mean we just have a government of people who think up things to worry about, spend money on, act goofy over – all to no effect.
And THAT would just be stupid, right?