This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

03 March 2008

U.S. Congress Legislation on NEOs: H.R. 4917 NEO Preparedness Act

Dale Brownfield at the Gaiashield Group is trying to get people to sign up to support H.R. 4917 NEO Preparedness Act, a proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives sponsered by California Republican Dana Rohrabacher that seeks to establish a NEO office within NASA (referred to as the Office of Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Object Preparedness). Notable sections of the legislation include the following...


(a) Establishment- The Administrator shall establish the Office of Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Object Preparedness (in this Act referred to as `Office'). The purpose of the Office shall be to prepare the United States for readiness to avoid and to mitigate collisions with potentially hazardous near-Earth objects in collaboration with other Agencies through the identification of situation- and decision-analysis factors and selection of procedures and systems.

(b) Identification of Situation- and Decision-Analysis Factors- The Office shall identify situation- and decision-analysis factors, in collaboration with other Agencies, by determining--

(1) the needed objective technical and nontechnical criteria upon which to analyze potentially hazardous near-Earth object collision information and to base key threat elimination-decisions and options;

(2) the implications of such decisions and options;

(3) the human skills needed to make key threat elimination-decisions and the preparation required for individuals making such decisions;

(4) the factors needed to formulate key techical and policy questions involving such decisions;

(5) methods for determining and sequencing the minimum possible time periods needed to make such decisions;

(6) a model deflection and mitigation decision logic flow, including provisions for minimizing--

(A) human exposure,

(B) energy, cost, and time, and

(C) the risk of return of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects; and

(7) additional critical information needs, technological developments, public confidence building initiatives, and any other needs involving the threat of collisons of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects with Earth.

(c) Selection of Procedures and Systems- The Office shall select procedures and systems by--

(1) surveying the existing deflection proposals and examining each proposal for critical elements including capability, suitability, feasibility, cost, cost effectiveness, required human and capital resources, and maturity of needed key technologies;

(2) with the results from subsection (a) and input from other appropriate sources, performing an architectural tradeoff assessment and selecting a set of deflection proposals as primary procedures and systems that will provide the best opportunities for deflection-preparation, taking into account adequate- and short-warning collision timelines, as well as relevant asteroid and comet characteristics;

(3) for each selected primary procedure and system--

(A) identifying the best backup;

(B) defining the steps needed to realize immature key technologies;

(C) developing preliminary models;

(D) performing a predicted results error-analysis in order to confirm the characteristics described in subsection (a);

(E) projecting time to readiness;

(F) formulating an implementation phase to achieve full deflection readiness;

(G) establishing implementation timelines with measurable interim goals, and steps to transfer the procedure and system resources to the implementation phase; and

(H) identifying the crucial policy decisions needed for implemention; and

(4) indicating possible coordination with other Agencies to facilitate such activities.


The Administrator shall submit to the Congress the following reports:

(1) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, an interim report that summarizes a preliminary result of the activities of the Office carried out under sections 4(b) and 4(c)(1)-(2).

(2) Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, a concluding report that summarizes all activities of the Office carried out under section 4.


The Administrator shall convene the NASA Advisory Council--

(1) not later than 90 days after submitting the interim report required by section 5(1), to provide the Administrator with advice for the concluding report; and

(2) not later than 90 days after submitting concluding report required by section 5(2), to provide the Administrator with advice for subsequent activities under section 4.

Link: H.R. 4917 NEO Preparedness Act

Link: Gaia Shield Group Site

Link: Gaia Shield Letter to Congress

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