Asteroids Aff

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Spaceguard fails – only $4 million per year

MORRISON 2006 - Working Group on Near Earth Objects, International Astronomical Union (August, David, “ Asteroid and comet impacts: the ultimate environmental catastrophe ”

The Spaceguard Survey is intended to identify any potential threat to the Earth with a warning time of at least several decades. Current searches are optimized for finding asteroids near 1km diameter, which embraces the lower limit in size for a global catastrophe. (The nominal threshold is at 2km, with an uncertainty of a about factor of 2 in size, or an order of magnitude in energy). The specific ‘Spaceguard Goal’ is to find 90 per cent of the NEAs larger than 1km within 10 years, or by the end of 2008. Out of an estimated total of 10001100 (Bottke et al. 2004; Chesley & Spahr 2004; Harris 2004), 75 per cent had been found by the end of 2005. This is not as positive a result as might seem, however, since the rate of new discoveries falls off as the survey nears completeness. This survey is being carried out with approximately $4 million per year from NASA, plus voluntary and in-kind contributions—a tiny sum compared to the ongoing cost of mitigation for numerically comparable but better-known hazards such as earthquakes, severe storms, airplane crashes and terrorist activities.


DOD jurisdiction causes conflict over classification and kills international cooperation

National Research Council 2010 - Committee to Review Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Space Studies Board (“National and International Coordination and Collaboration” pg. 93-94, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences,

An effective, comprehensive approach to the NEO hazard will require significant planning, coordination, and cooperation within the U.S. government. It seems sensible to assign responsibility for this NEO hazards program to an existing governmental administrative structure, especially in view of the likely relatively small size of the undertaking. It also seems more efficient to place the program under the control of a single entity in coordination with other relevant government organizations. The coordination could be implemented by way of a standing committee or an interagency task force of the appropriate agencies to organize and lead the effort to plan and coordinate any action to be taken by the United States individually, or in concert with other nations. This committee or task force would have membership from each of the relevant national agencies (NASA and the National Science Foundation [NSF]) and executive departments (Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, and State), with the chair from the lead entity. (Other relevant agencies and departments might include the Departments of Transportation and of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, and the Department of Agriculture.) The first step of the standing committee or interagency task force would be to define the necessary roles and responsibilities of each member agency in addressing the various aspects of the threat, from surveying the sky through civil defense. The lead responsibility for a given task would be assigned to the appropriate agency or department. In view of the intrinsic international nature of the program, a civilian rather than a military agency would have advantages for housing it. Otherwise, one could envision continual internal conflict over military security and classification issues. Of course, any group will have such issues from time to time, but a civilian group could have far fewer such conflicts and also would likely be more acceptable to its counterparts in other nations. In an emergency, the military could be enlisted or appointed by the president to help; the military would maintain currency with the issues through membership in the standing committee or interagency task force. Among the civilian agencies and departments, NASA has the broadest and deepest familiarity with solar system objects and its associated rendezvous missions. The NSF supports ground-based solar system research, but it traditionally responds to proposals rather than initiating and organizing complex programs (the International Geophysical Year being one of the exceptions). The Departments of Defense and of Energy, however, have by far the most important experience with nuclear explosives, necessary for some active-defense missions for changing NEO orbits. For such missions and their preparations, these departments, or at least the latter, would certainly become involved, with coordination being maintained through the standing committee or task force described above. NASA is a possible choice for the lead agency. Within NASA, under its present organization, a natural home for this hazards program would be the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), which deals with solar system science. The current, small hazards program—with an approximately $4 million annual budget—is already housed in this directorate. But the hazards program discussed here would be more effective with its own director and budgetary line item(s) to ensure its viability within the much larger SMD. It would, of course, derive benefits from and provide benefits to the science and other programs in the SMD.
Military asteroid response links to politics—it’s perceived as space mil

Sommer 2005 – PhD candidate at the Pardee RAND graduate school (Geoffrey S., “ Astronomical Odds A Policy Framework for the Cosmic Impact Hazard ”

In 1994, the USAF launched Clementine, a spacecraft that imaged the Moon and would have proceeded to a flyby of the NEA Geographos but for a software malfunction. This mission used Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) sensors and was intended to “flight-qualify 23 advanced lightweight technologies.” The NEA target was chosen because it “tested the functions required for intercepting a missile in mid-course.” Clementine was widely praised for its streamlined development and low costs ($80 million).126 In 1997, the USAF sought funding for Clementine II, a mission that would have explicitly tested the technologies for interception of asteroids, in the process sending projectiles into the NEA Toutatis and two other asteroids. Although Congress allocated $30 million of FY98 funding for the project, it fell victim to a line-item veto from President Clinton on 14 October 1997.127 In justifying this decision, the White House cited concerns over compliance with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and noted that its architecture for National Missile Defense (NMD) did not include space-based weapons.128 It was clear that the White House saw asteroid defense as a “stalking horse” used by missile defense proponents to advance their agenda.

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