Don’t worry, folks: Our trusted representatives in government just saw the movie Armageddon, and they aren’t going to take the threat posed by this mediocre 1998 action movie lying down. They’re going to pass laws to make sure we’re prepared to face any asteroid-related threat without having to send a bunch of oil drillers into space.
The House of Representatives just passed bill H.R. 6063, directing NASA to come up with plans for a cheap mission to send a craft to the Apophis asteroid to attach a tracking device. Apophis is on route to come closer to Earth than geostational satellites in 2029, and if it smacked into the planet we’d be a little bit screwed.
In addition to paying close attention to Apophis, the bill requires the Director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to come up with a policy for notifying Federal agencies and other emergency response groups of an impending near-Earth object threat. Hopefully they’ll come up with better plans than whatever it is they have enacted for natural disasters now, because their track record doesn’t really inspire confidence. [KurzweilAI]