March 21, 2007


NASA says it has no money to track most of the giant rocks in outer space that have the potential to pay us a whopper of a visit someday (say, next Tuesday). Eric Effron at The Week magazine says the money was apparently needed elsewhere:

[W]hile there may not be enough money in the budget to monitor hurtling space rocks the size of football stadiums, we can rest easy knowing that federal funding has been secured for (I’m not making this up): the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C.; the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative; the National Wild Turkey Federation; a tattoo-removal program in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.; and a campaign to combat "goth culture" in Blue Springs, Mo. All these efforts, and thousands like them, no doubt have their virtues. But more to the point, they have a local congressman who managed to slip them into multibillion-dollar appropriation bills. Earth, alas, has no congressman. As for those asteroids, wouldn’t it be ironic if one of them landed on, say, the Sparta Teapot Museum?

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