WH science adviser to Congress: Spend money on NASA or we’re all toast

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An artist’s conception of an asteroid crashing into Earth. (David A. Hardy)

Turns out, we may actually see the sky falling due to the sequester cuts. Last month a meteor fell in Russia and a potentially catastrophic asteroid passed dangerously close to the earth. But White House science adviser John Holdren reported to Congress that NASA is short on necessary funding to prevent future collisions.

Members of the House Science Committee were given best-case scenarios at Tuesday’s hearing by Holdren, who reported that funding of cataloging potentially threatening asteroids had increased from $5 million to over $20 million in just a few years. But it is not enough to fund an infrared-sensing telescope – which could cost $500 to $750 million – that could detect a meteor such as the one in Russia, which no one saw coming.

“It came out of the sun,”Holdren said. “It came from a direction where our telescopes could not look.”

Bolden warned that sequestration spending cuts will affect NASA’s future asteroid-hunting efforts, as well as any plans for human space exploration.

“If you detected, even a small one like the one that detonated in Russia, headed for New York City in three weeks, what would we do?” Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., asked.

“If it’s coming in three weeks, uh … pray,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.

“A good segment of the population thinks it’s just a matter to call in Bruce Willis,” Posey said jokingly.

See the NBC report here:

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