The following are positions taken by the United
States Congress House of Representatives on the asteroid and
comet impact hazard and ways to deal with it.
1991 statement from the House Committee on Science
and Technology as enacted in the NASA Authorization Bill:
The chances of the Earth being struck by a large
asteroid are extremely small, but since the consequences of
such a collision are extremely large, the Committee believes
it is only prudent to assess the nature of the threat and
prepare to deal with it. We have the technology to detect
such asteroids and to prevent their collision with the Earth.
The Committee therefore directs that NASA undertake
two workshop studies. The first would define a program for
dramatically increasing the detection rate of Earth-orbit-crossing
asteroids; this study would address the costs, schedule, technology,
and equipment required for precise definition of the orbits
of such bodies. The second study would define systems and
technologies to alter the orbits of such asteroids or to destroy
them if they should pose a danger to life on Earth. The Committee
recommends international participation in these studies and
suggests that they be conducted within a year of the passage
of this legislation.
1994 statement from the House Committee on
Science and Technology passed as an ammedment to the House version
of the NASA Authorization bill:
Catalogue of Earth-Threatening Comets and Asteroids
(a) Requirement -- To the extent practicable,
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in coordination
with the Department of Defense and the space agencies of other
countries, shall identify and catalogue within 10 years the
orbital characteristics of all comets and asteroids that are
greater than 1 km in diameter and are in an orbit around the
sun that crosses the orbit of the Earth.
(b) Program Plan -- By February 1, 1995,
the [NASA] Administrator shall submit to the Congress a program
plan, including estimated budgetary requirements for fiscal
years 1996 through 2000, to implement subsection (a).