Elaine Meinel Supkis
Every once in a blue moon, we get worried about asteroids and then that fades as we worry about Britney Spears' hair troubles. NASA decided to remind everyone about this tiny problem that might wipe out all living things. Will we bother doing anything? Heh.
WASHINGTON - NASA officials say the space agency is capable of finding nearly all the asteroids that might pose a devastating hit to Earth, but there isn't enough money to pay for the task so it won't get done.
The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this week. The report was previewed Monday at a Planetary Defense Conference in Washington.
Congress in 2005 asked NASA to come up with a plan to track most killer asteroids and propose how to deflect the potentially catastrophic ones.
"We know what to do, we just don't have the money," said Simon "Pete" Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center.
For want of a nail, a horse goes lame. The USA used to be interested in space things. We were going to conquer space, it was the Last Frontier. At the same moment in our history, we decided it would be tons more fun going bankrupt. Driving the world's strongest, wealthiest empire into bankruptcy takes a long time but we are rapidly reaching our goal.
We built, at great expense and with lots of trumpetting about how fantastic we are and how capitalism is better than communism even though we were behind the commies during much of the Space Race, we were supposed to ignore this! Ask any child today, who put the first satellite up, the first man in space, the first dog in space. They all think it was the USA just like many people here think we won WWII in Europe even though we didn't land in Normandy until Russia's armies were nearly at the borders of Germany!
Now China is challenging us. They are starting way behind us but we got pretty lax about things after Russia went bankrupt and seemingly, dropped out of the Space Race. Since we decided to spend all our future wealth on really dumb things like oppressing Muslim peasants who are very eager to blow us up with themselves in a mutual suicide-pact, we also have run out of money. And the Chinese will give it to us if we give them our technology.
Not that it is worth all that much. The Russians are the ones keeping humans in space. The Space Shuttle got shuffled back into the hanger because of damage from violent storms. Global warming has some downsides aside from the fact that the entire space port we built in Florida is barely above sea level and will disappear in 30 years, under water. If a mega-hurricane doesn't flatten it all, first.
Way back when I was a tadpole, I thought we needed a space program so we can outsource our industries to other planetary systems or galaxies far, far away. Then we can set up a money deal with them and try to cheat them while they try to bankrupt us. A good plan.
But we need money, first. Of course, what is another billion or so? The Pentagon spends that much per week in cost over-runs for their pet projects. And we spend that much a DAY at war. With peasants living in tents or mud huts. Who are winning. And killing many of us as well as each other and anything else.
And Congress won't cut their budget and redirect the funds to useful places. Just think: if an asteroid is coming here, we could get some suicide bombers to ambush it! Maybe that is why we are in Iraq: it is all training, preparing them for saving the planet earth.
They already nearly got Cheney. See? They can save us!
Oh, and before Bush pardons Libby, we really should arrest Cheney. And Bush. At least, impeach them.