Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Space Proposals

There are a few other space-related proposals that are open for discussion in the "seat at the table" area:

1. Coalition for Space Exploration Policy Recommendations - The report is mainly a summary of special Gallup polls showing strong public support for space exploration. The Coalition is made up of mainstream aerospace industry companies (Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, ATK, etc.) and space advocacy groups.

2. X Prize - The X Prize organization offers some suggestions on how NASA can work better.

3. Association of Space Explorers International Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation - As they say in their description:
Because NEO impacts represent a global, long-term threat to the collective welfare of humanity, an international program and set of preparatory measures for action should be established.

The ASE report is a 54 page PDF that is available for download at the above link. There are very few comments so far. I added this one:

We humans evolved to deal very well with certain time spans (seconds to hours to a few years) and to judge well the probabilities and impacts of certain types of events and threats (predators, prey, day/night, weather). With very short or very long time spans and for very small probabilities, our instincts aren't very good, but fortunately, we have science, and the ability to learn from things that are distant and abstract. Asteroids are like that. Long periods can pass with no big asteroid events, but there's nothing special about this time compared to 65 million years ago or 1908. Now is as likely a time for an asteroid to hit as any other. This proposal is basically asking us to spend what is really a small amount of money and a bit more attention to a low probability risk with big consequences. It really is like insurance and fire extinguishers - something we should assign a little money and attention to while we devote a lot more money and attention to more immediate problems.

The proposal is also suggesting improvements in international planning and cooperation on this important issue, and explaining why such cooperation is essential.

The Obama transition team is inviting Americans to participate in the various discussions of issues that may be important to them. If you care about space exploration and the risk of NEO impacts, please add your voice to these discussions.

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