Jan 152015
 

Earth’s atmosphere protects us from asteroids and comets that are up to 50 yards in diameter. Astronomers estimate there are at least 1 million near-earth asteroids (NEA) of this size, and more than 1,000 asteroids with diameters of at least half a mile that could impact our planet with widespread devastation. Surveys by infrared-equipped satellite telescopes have located 93% of these large NEAs and only about 70 now remain uncharted. However, catastrophic damage will likely occur if one of these objects collides with our planet. Massive forest fires, towering tidal waves and extreme weather change are the likely results of a large asteroid strike. Astronomers warn it is only a matter of time before this occurs. One recent strike was the 60 foot, 11,000 ton Chelyabinsk meteor over Russia in 2013 which entered the atmosphere at 41,000 mph, damaged 7,200 buildings, and injured 1,500 people. It exploded 14 miles above ground in a deafening blast that was 20 times more powerful than our Hiroshima bomb. This small meteor arrived totally undetected because it was made of a dark non-reflective substance, had a shallow angle of approach, and no one with a telescope was looking for it. Experts say that if Chelyabinsk had struck ground in a major city, many hundreds or thousands of deaths likely would have ensued. Oddly enough, on the same day of the Chelyabinsk meteor, an asteroid named 2012DA14 flew past the earth. This rock, roughly half a football stadium in width, flew close enough to the Earth as to pass beneath our communication satellites. And as if that were not enough, another similarly-size object named the “Pitbull” was discovered in 2014, as it flew just above our satellites over New Zealand after being detected only a week earlier. Astronomers and astronauts claim these events are further proof that our planet needs a defense against large asteroids. They claim it is possible an asteroid’s trajectory, particularly one arriving from our Southern Hemisphere, could bring it on a collision course with our planet with practically no advance warning. They say that for the first time in human evolution, we have the ability to protect our planet from asteroids and their ensuing catastrophes. Many want us to develop a means to detect, analyze and deflect or destroy large NEAs. Asteroid fragmentation methods include the use of kinetic, gravitational, solar or nuclear energy. Deflection methods include gravity tractors, laser cannons and the attachment of rockets or mass drivers to the NEA.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current asteroid defense policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill authorizing funding for NASA to research and deploy an asteroid defense system

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Reported sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and extraterrestrial encounters have persisted for decades. These reports, from many countries, are often submitted by credible individuals, pilots, law enforcement and military personnel. Some have been tracked by radar stations. Common to many of these reports are the descriptions of incomprehensible speed and agility characterized by these craft. In the 50s and 60s, our government conducted official inquiries into the UFO phenomenon but eventually it either stopped investigating UFOs or stopped confirming its investigations. When a UFO sighting is reported, authorities usually explain it as a weather balloon, swamp gas, air inversion layer or an experimental aircraft or rocket. Many believe these explanations account for only a portion of UFO sightings.

For several days and nights in 1952, military jets were unsuccessfully dispatched to intercept a number UFO’s observed and tracked over Washington DC. A 1980 Suffolk, England incident involved the alleged landing of one or more craft of unknown origin during the course of two nights in Rendlesham Forest, next to a U.S. Air Force base. More recently has been the mass UFO sightings that have been regularly occurring over Mexico City since at least 1992. For years and in broad daylight, thousands have observed and filmed UFO fleets hovering or flying in formation. But perhaps the most famous UFO incident occurred in 1947 when a UFO allegedly crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. After examining the wreckage, military officers from Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release notifying the country that the Army had found the remains of a crashed flying saucer. This announcement was soon retracted and the wreckage was later described as a weather balloon. Strong speculation persists that that our government has performed autopsies on Roswell extraterrestrials and reverse engineered their spacecraft to reveal secrets of alien technology. Roswell’s Area 51 and Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, are the locations where many believe these examinations were conducted. Several former contractors and servicemembers from both of these facilities claim to have seen wreckage and deceased extraterrestrials there.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) is a decades-old organization which attempts to detect radio or light signals from an intelligent alien source. SETI uses optical telescopes as well as radio telescopes, some arranged in large arrays, to listen for intelligent radio signals emanating from stars located within 200 light-years of our planet. So far, none have been detected but a number of astronomers now wish to pursue “Active SETI” programs. This involves not merely listening for a distant signal, but purposefully transmitting radio waves into deep space in an attempt to establish contact with extraterrestrial life. Although this idea is not a new one, some are wary of sending signals to potential unknowns. Others reason that if some of the many thousands of reported UFO sightings are true, then aliens already know we exist. UFO-oligists say our search for extraterrestrial intelligence should begin here, with the ones visiting us now. They also say our government does not have the right to keep evidence of extraterrestrial life from us.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current extraterrestrial policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to mandate government disclosure of all evidence of extraterrestrial life and funding the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life including the use of large radio telescopes and radio telescope arrays

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Our space program has achieved many major milestones over the last 50 years. We have safely landed men on the moon, placed the Hubble telescope in orbit, developed the space shuttle, helped construct the international space station, landed the Curiosity rover on Mars and sent robotic spacecraft to the far reaches of our solar system and beyond. However, with the retirement of our space shuttle fleet, we are now forced to rent seats on Russian rockets in order to access outer space. Many Americans wish to continue our leading role as space pioneers. Some support sending astronauts back to the moon to establish a semi-permanent base for future manned missions to Mars and other destinations. Our next generation of spacecraft, called the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, is somewhat similar in design to our Apollo-era spacecraft. The deep-space capable Orion consists of a cargo launch vehicle and a crew exploration vehicle. It will accommodate 4 to 6 crewmembers and, like Apollo, Orion will reenter Earth’s atmosphere using parachutes and a heat shield. Its maiden flight is scheduled to transport astronauts to the space station later this year. Ultimately, a modified version of the Orion spacecraft is expected to take astronauts to the moon in the early ‘20s and perhaps to Mars soon after. Analysts estimate the cost of building these vehicles and constructing a lunar base to be at least $120 billion. Critics say the money used for these projects could be better spent here on Earth.

Some scientists have questioned the need for a lunar base and the wisdom of manned deep-space exploration. They say many obstacles must first be overcome before subjecting humans to prolonged space travel in microgravity environments. These obstacles include bone-density loss, sleep problems, radiation exposure and psychological adjustment issues. The damage from micro-meteors traveling at thousands of miles per hour and impacting a spacecraft has also not been addressed. Space travel supporters claim a lunar way-station used as a fuel depot and manufacturing site to stage longer missions, makes sense. They claim it would further our knowledge of the long-term effects of low gravity and space radiation on human physiology. They also say the moon’s water resources will facilitate this effort. Opponents argue that manned space exploration is not worth the risk to human life when robotic missions can accomplish more and at a much lower cost. NASA is now operating more than 50 robotic spacecraft that are studying Earth and our solar system, with another 40 unmanned missions in development. Manned-flight supporters claim the problem with robotic machines is that they will only do what they are programmed to do and can only detect the expected. They say robots cannot be programmed to detect the unimaginable, the unknown, or the strange non-carbon life that may someday be encountered.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1446 – REAL Space Act

I oppose reforming current space exploration policy and wish to defeat H.R.1446

I support directing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to plan to return to the Moon by 2022 and to develop a sustained human presence there in order to promote exploration, commerce, science and U.S. preeminence in space as a stepping stone for future exploration of Mars and other destinations, and wish to pass H.R.1446

 Posted by at 12:00 am