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109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    109-158

======================================================================



 
           GEORGE E. BROWN, JR. NEAR-EARTH OBJECT SURVEY ACT

                                _______
                                

 June 27, 2005.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Boehlert, from the Committee on Science, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1022]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Science, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 
1022) to provide for a Near-Earth Object Survey program to 
detect, track, catalogue, and characterize certain near-earth 
asteroids and comets, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Purpose of the Bill.............................................2
  II. Background and Need for the Legislation.........................2
 III. Summary of Hearings.............................................2
  IV. Committee Actions...............................................4
   V. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill.........................4
  VI. Section-By-Section Analysis (By Title and Section)..............4
 VII. Committee Views.................................................5
VIII. Cost Estimate...................................................5
  IX. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate.......................6
   X. Compliance with Public Law 104-4 (Unfunded Mandates)............6
  XI. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations................7
 XII. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives...........7
XIII. Constitutional Authority Statement..............................7
 XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement............................7
  XV. Congressional Accountability Act................................7
 XVI. Statement on Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law..........7
XVII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, As Reported...........7
XVIII.Committee Recommendations.......................................8

 XIX. Proceedings of Full Committee Markup............................9

                         I. Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of the bill is to authorize the Administrator 
of the National Space and Aeronautics Administration (NASA) to 
establish a Near-Earth Object Survey Program to detect, track, 
catalogue, and characterize certain near-Earth asteroids and 
comets.

              II. Background and Need for the Legislation

    Near-Earth objects pose a serious and credible threat. 
Recent press accounts of asteroids passing close to the Earth 
have raised public awareness of the possibility that a near-
Earth object could one day hit the Earth with potentially 
catastrophic consequences. The monitoring and tracking of near-
Earth objects will provide advanced warning of potential 
threats to the Earth, as well as promote advances in the field 
of astronomy.

                        III. Summary of Hearings

    On October 3, 2002, the Subcommittee on Space and 
Aeronautics held a hearing to examine the status of nearby and 
potentially hazardous asteroids and comets known as near-Earth 
objects (``NEOs''). Witnesses included: Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA 
Associate Administrator for Space Science; Dr. David Morrison, 
Senior Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center; Brigadier General 
Simon ``Pete'' Worden, U.S. Air Force; Dr. Brian Marsden, 
Director, Minor Planet Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical 
Observatory; and Dr. Joseph Burns, Irving Porter Church 
Professor of Engineering and Astronomy, Cornell University.
    The hearing addressed the risks posed by NEOs, the status 
of the current U.S. survey effort for NEOs, recommendations for 
extending current survey goals to include smaller, more 
numerous objects, and the challenges of data management. The 
hearing also examined NASA's current goal of identifying and 
tracking 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids larger than one 
kilometer in size by 2008. In addition, the hearing explored 
the question of next steps beyond this survey goal, including 
the costs, benefits, and technical challenges of extending the 
survey to include smaller, yet still potentially very 
hazardous, objects. Agency roles and interagency cooperation in 
the NEO survey effort were discussed, as well. Finally, the 
hearing addressed the role of amateur astronomers in this 
effort.
    Dr. Morrison testified on the threat of collisions with 
asteroids and comets. He stated that the greatest risk today is 
not from objects large enough to cause global extinctions (such 
as is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs), 
but rather from objects large enough to perturb the Earth's 
climate on a global scale by injecting large quantities of dust 
into the stratosphere. Objects of about one kilometer in size 
pose such a threat and are thus the target of the current 
survey for NEOs. He stated that the next logical goal is to 
search for objects that could kill millions of people upon 
impact. Objects 200-300 meters in diameter, for example, pose 
the greatest tsunami danger. Dr. Morrison emphasized that the 
goal of the current survey is not to find objects on their 
final plunge toward Earth, but rather to identify objects in 
nearby orbits for future monitoring.
    Dr. Ed Weiler testified about progress of NASA's current 
ground-based survey for NEOs, given the current goal of 
identifying 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids larger than one 
kilometer in size by 2008. Dr. Weiler stated that there are 
estimated to be about 1,000 such asteroids, and that the six 
groups currently funded by NASA for such research have together 
discovered over 600 objects and are ahead of the predicted 
schedule. Thus, it is likely that the 2008 goal will be 
reached. As for extending the survey goal to comprehensively 
include objects smaller than one kilometer in size, Dr. Weiler 
felt that to pursue such a goal would be premature. Dr. Weiler 
stated that if such an extended survey effort were conducted 
from the ground, then NASA should not play a part in the survey 
effort because NASA is primarily an agency for space-based 
missions. He stated that NASA's role is better suited for 
detailed study of particular asteroids and comets, such as the 
NEAR-Shoemaker mission and the upcoming DAWN, Deep Impact, and 
Stardust missions. He also stated that new technology from the 
Nuclear Systems Initiative and the In-Space Propulsion 
Initiative should benefit future missions for detailed studies 
of asteroids and comets.
    Dr. Joseph Burns testified on the recommendations regarding 
NEOs from the recent National Research Council report entitled 
``New Frontiers in the Solar System.'' One of the primary 
recommendations in the report calls for NASA and the National 
Science Foundation to contribute equally to the construction 
and operation of a Large-aperture Synoptic Survey Telescope 
(LSST), a 6.5-meter-effective-diameter, very wide field 
telescope that could produce a digital map of the visible sky 
every week. Dr. Burns stated that the LSST could locate 90 
percent of all NEOs down to 300 meters in size, enable 
computations of their orbits, and permit assessment of their 
threat to Earth. Dr. Burns testified that NASA should continue 
to be involved in ground-based NEO surveys even if the survey 
goals were extended, because of NASA's experience with ground-
based telescopes.
    Dr. Brian Marsden testified on the management of the data 
reported daily to the Minor Planet Center of the Smithsonian 
Astrophysical Observatory regarding asteroids and comets. NEOs 
comprise less than one percent of the observations of 
asteroids. Dr. Marsden testified that the Minor Planet Center 
collects reports from around the world regarding detections of 
NEOs, other asteroids, and comets, and publishes confirmed 
detections electronically in the Minor Planet Electronic 
Circular. Dr. Marsden stated that augmentation of the Minor 
Planet Center staff is essential if the number of asteroid 
discoveries continues to increase, as would be expected with an 
extension of the NEO survey goals to include objects of smaller 
sizes. Dr. Marsden testified that most follow-up tracking 
observations of NEOs are made by amateur astronomers. He stated 
that amateurs also need ready access to electronic equipment to 
make their work possible. Dr. Marsden testified that attention 
should also be given to long-period comets, which could pose an 
even greater risk than asteroids because they are less 
predictable.
    Brig. General Worden testified that the U.S. military is 
developing sensitive surveillance technologies that could serve 
in a ``dual-use'' capacity by contributing to the detection of 
NEOs. Such technology would augment the current efforts of U.S. 
military telescopes used by NASA in NEO projects such as 
LINEAR. Gen. Worden stated that while developing mitigation 
strategies should be a high priority, the ``command and 
control'' structure is even more important, providing timely 
coordination of mitigation plans. Gen. Worden stated that the 
U.S. military could serve in such a coordination role. Gen. 
Worden testified that asteroids explode in the atmosphere 
roughly once a month (as detected by military surveillance 
equipment), and that such explosions could be mistaken for a 
nuclear detonation, sparking an unwarranted international 
response. He recommended a ``clearinghouse'' structure for 
quick worldwide notification when the U.S. military detects 
such an asteroid impact in the atmosphere.

                         IV. Committee Actions

    On June 9, 2004, Rep. Rohrabacher introduced H.R. 4544, the 
George E. Brown Near-Earth Object Survey Act, a bill to provide 
for a NEO Survey program to detect, track, catalogue, and 
characterize certain near-Earth asteroids and comets. The bill 
was referred to the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. No 
further action was taken on the bill during the 108th Congress.
    On March 1, 2005, Rep. Rohrabacher introduced H.R. 1022, a 
bill with the same short title and stated purposes as H.R. 
4544. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Space and 
Aeronautics. On May 16, 2005, the Subcommittee on Space and 
Aeronautics discharged the bill. On May 17, 2005, the Committee 
on Science considered H.R. 1022. The motion to adopt the bill 
without amendment was agreed to by voice vote. Ranking Member 
Gordon moved that the Committee favorably report the bill, H.R. 
1022, to the House with the recommendation that the bill as 
amended do pass and that staff be instructed to make technical 
and conforming changes to the bill as amended and prepare the 
legislative report and that the Chairman take all necessary 
steps to bring the bill before the House for consideration. 
With a quorum vote present, the motion was agreed to by a voice 
vote.

            V. Summary of Major Provisions of the Amendment

    The bill directs the Administrator of NASA to plan, 
develop, and implement a Near-Earth Object Survey program to 
detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical 
characteristics of near-Earth asteroids and comets equal to or 
greater than 100 meters in diameter in order to assess the 
threat of such near-Earth objects in striking the Earth. The 
bill amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to 
include a Congressional declaration that the general welfare 
and security of the United States require that the unique 
competence of NASA in science and engineering systems be 
directed to detecting, tracking, cataloguing, and 
characterizing near-Earth asteroids and comets in order to 
provide warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such 
near-Earth objects impacting the Earth. The bill authorizes to 
be appropriated $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 and 
2007.

                    VI. Section-by-Section Analysis

    Sec. 1. Short Title. George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object 
Survey Act.
    Sec. 2. Findings. NEOs pose a serious and credible threat 
to mankind. The efforts taken to date by NASA for detecting and 
characterizing the hazards of NEOs are not sufficient to the 
threat posed by such objects, which can cause widespread 
destruction and loss of life.
    Sec. 3. Definitions.
    Sec. 4. Near-Earth Object Survey. Directs the Administrator 
of NASA to establish a NEO Survey program to detect, track, 
catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of 
NEOs equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in order 
to assess the threat of such NEOs to the Earth. Amends the 
National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to include a 
Congressional declaration that the general welfare and security 
of the United States require that the unique competence of NASA 
in science and engineering systems be directed to detecting, 
tracking, cataloguing, and characterizing NEOs in order to 
provide warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such 
NEOs to the Earth. Requires the Administrator to submit each 
year for the next five years a report summarizing the 
activities the Administrator takes with regard to the NEO 
Survey program and a summary of expenditures, and a plan and 
budget request for the program. Authorizes $20,000,000 for each 
of fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

                          VII. Committee Views

    NASA's current NEO survey effort focuses on identifying and 
tracking near-Earth asteroids larger than one kilometer in 
size. However, it appears that a credible threat is posed by 
NEOs of a smaller size. The Committee believes that NASA must 
begin to track asteroids and comets equal to or greater than 
100 meters in diameter that pose a threat to the Earth. The 
goal of the NEO Survey program is not to find objects on their 
final plunge toward Earth, but rather to identify objects in 
nearby orbits for on-going monitoring.
    The Committee believes that the term ``near-Earth object'' 
should mean an asteroid or comet with a perihelion distance of 
less than 1.3 Astronomical Units from the Sun.
    The Committee believes that it should be the goal of the 
NEO Survey program to achieve 90 percent completion of its NEO 
catalogue (based on statistically predicted populations of 
NEOs) within 15 years of the date of enactment of this Act.
    The Committee expects the Administrator to transmit to the 
Congress within 180 days of the date of enactment of this Act, 
an initial report that provides the following: (a) an analysis 
of possible alternatives that the agency may employ to carry 
out the Survey program, including ground-based and space-based 
alternatives; and (b) a recommended option; and (c) a proposed 
budget to carry out the Survey program pursuant to the 
recommended option.

                          VIII. Cost Estimate

    A cost estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 has been timely submitted to 
the Committee on Science prior to the filing of this report and 
is included in Section X of this report pursuant to House Rule 
XIII, clause 3(c)(3).
    H.R. 1022 does not contain new budget authority, credit 
authority, or changes in revenues or tax expenditures. Assuming 
that the sums authorized under the bill are appropriated, H.R. 
1022 authorizes additional discretionary spending, as described 
in the Congressional Budget Office report on the bill, which is 
contained in Section X of this report.

             IX. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate


H.R. 1022--George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act

    Summary: H.R. 1022 would authorize the appropriation of $20 
million for each of years 2006 and 2007 for the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish a 
Near-Earth Object Survey program to detect and track asteroids 
and comets of 100 meters or greater in diameter that are close 
to Earth. In addition, the bill would require NASA to summarize 
the program's activities and to submit a report to the Congress 
annually over the first five years of the program.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing this bill would cost $40 million 
over the 2006-2010 period. Enacting H.R. 1022 would have no 
effect on direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 1022 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 1022 is shown in the following table. 
For this estimate, CBO assumes that the amounts authorized will 
be appropriated near the beginning of each fiscal year and that 
outlays will follow historical patterns for such activities. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 250 
(general science, space, and technology).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2006     2007     2008     2009     2010
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level................................................       20       20        0        0        0
Estimated Outlays..................................................       10       19        9        1        1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1022 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined by UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Mike Waters. Impact on 
State, Local, and Tribal governments: Lisa Ramirez-Branum. 
Impact on the Private Sector: Craig Cammarata.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  X. Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    H.R. 1022 contains no unfunded mandates.

          XI. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    The Committee on Science's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

       XII. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House rule XIII, the goals of 
H.R. 1022 are to establish a NEO Survey program to detect, 
track, catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics 
of NEOs equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in 
order to assess the threat of such NEOs to the Earth.

                XIII. Constitutional Authority Statement

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact H.R. 1022.

               XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement

    H.R. 1022 does not establish or authorize the establishment 
of any advisory committee.

                  XV. Congressional Accountability Act

    The Committee finds that H.R. 1022 does not relate to the 
terms and conditions of employment or access to public services 
or accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of 
the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 104-1).

      XVI. Statement on Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law

    This legislation is not intended to preempt any state, 
local, or tribal law.

      XVII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

     SECTION 102 OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ACT OF 1958


                   DECLARATION OF POLICY AND PURPOSE

  Sec. 102. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (g) The Congress declares that the general welfare and 
security of the United States require that the unique 
competence of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
in science and engineering systems be directed to detecting, 
tracking, cataloging, and characterizing near-Earth asteroids 
and comets in order to provide warning and mitigation of the 
potential hazard of such near-Earth objects impacting the 
Earth.
  [(g)] (h) It is the purpose of this Act to carry out and 
effectuate the policies declared in subsections (a), (b), (c), 
(d), (e), [and (f)] (f), and (g).

                    XVIII. Committee Recommendations

    On May 17, 2005, a quorum being present, the Committee on 
Science favorably reported H.R. 1022, the George E. Brown, Jr. 
Near-Earth Object Survey Act, by a voice vote, and recommended 
its enactment.
 XIX. PROCEEDINGS OF THE FULL COMMITTEE MARKUP ON H.R. 1022, GEORGE E. 
                BROWN, JR. NEAR-EARTH OBJECT SURVEY ACT

                              ----------                              


                         TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2005

                  House of Representatives,
                                      Committee on Science,
                                                    Washington, DC.

    The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:08 a.m., in Room 
2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Sherwood L. 
Boehlert [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Boehlert. I want to welcome everyone here today 
for this markup of bills concerning the heavens and the Earth 
and to the agencies that explore them, NOAA and NASA.
    Now let me just say this before I give you the rest of this 
wonderful statement.
    The Committee on Science will come to order. Pursuant to 
notice, the Committee on Science meets to consider the 
following measures: H.R. 50, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration Act; H.R. 2363, To establish a Science and 
Technology Scholarship Program to award scholarships to recruit 
and prepare students for careers in the National Weather 
Service and in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration marine research, atmospheric research, and 
satellite programs; H.R. 426, Remote Sensing Applications Act 
of 2005, and H.R. 1022, the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth 
Object Survey Act.
    I ask unanimous consent for the authority to recess the 
Committee at any point during consideration of these matters, 
and without objection, it is so ordered.
    We will now proceed with the markup beginning with the 
opening statements, and I will continue mine.
    The main bill before us today is the NOAA Organic Act 
introduced by Dr. Ehlers, which we had initially planned to 
markup last week. This bill will give NOAA a firm legislative 
grounding, something that was called for by the Ocean 
Commission, among others. The Administration has also called 
for an Organic Act for NOAA.
    But our bill will do more than merely found NOAA into law. 
It will raise the profile of science at NOAA and improve its 
management. The bill also will greatly improve oversight of the 
agency by ensuring that Congress and the public get the 
information needed to evaluate NOAA's organizational structure, 
facilities plans, budgeting, and satellite programs. This is a 
solid bill that will strengthen the agency.
    And now we look forward to working with the Resources 
Committee, which shares jurisdiction over portions of NOAA, to 
get this bill to the Floor. Also related to NOAA, we will take 
up Congressman Rohrabacher's bill to create a Scholarship for 
Service Program at NOAA. And he is a real leader on that 
effort, and we applaud that. We have done the same thing with 
NASA and the Department of Energy. Service scholarships are a 
great way to entice students into science, math, and 
engineering while also helping the Federal Government develop 
the workforce it will need. These scholarships have been 
championed tirelessly by Congressman Rohrabacher, and I 
congratulate him for that.
    We are running the scholarship program through as a 
separate bill, because specific program authorizations 
generally are not part of agency Organic Acts. We will also 
take up two bills related to space today. These were last-
minute additions to today's roster, which is something we have 
generally avoided on this committee. But this seemed like an 
opportune time to move these bills, and we continue to work on 
them through manager's amendments on the Floor.
    Mr. Udall's bill, which the Committee also passed last 
Congress, concerns remote sensing. Mr. Udall will offer an 
amendment that will take care of concerns raised by companies 
in the remote sensing data business, concerns that have stymied 
progress on this bill in the past. I know that Mr. Bonner and 
I, perhaps some others, have some further ideas for perfecting 
the bill, and we will work on those as the bill moves forward.
    Mr. Rohrabacher's bill focuses on near-Earth objects, a 
subject that has long concerned him and has gotten quite a bit 
of publicity lately. Congressman Rohrabacher has helped us all 
understand that asteroids may present a real threat to Earth 
and that we need to pay greater attention to them. All of these 
bills will improve our lives through increasing our 
understanding of the Earth, how it works, and what may threaten 
it.
    As usual, these bills represent a bipartisan effort, and I 
take pride in that. I look forward to their passage.
    The Chair recognizes Mr. Gordon.
    Mr. Gordon.
    [The prepared statement of Chairman Boehlert follows:]

          Prepared Statement of Chairman Sherwood L. Boehlert

    I want to welcome everyone here today for this markup of bills 
concerning the heavens and the Earth--and to the agencies that explore 
them, NOAA and NASA.
    The main bill before us today is the NOAA Organic Act, introduced 
by Dr. Ehlers, which we had initially planned to mark up last week. 
This bill will give NOAA a firm legislative grounding, something that 
was called for by the Ocean Commission among others. The Administration 
has also called for an Organic Act for NOAA.
    But our bill will do more than merely found NOAA in law. It will 
raise the profile of science at NOAA and improve its management. The 
bill also will greatly improve oversight of the agency by ensuring that 
Congress--and the public--get the information needed to evaluate NOAA's 
organizational structure, facilities plans, budgeting and satellite 
programs. This is a solid bill that will strengthen the agency.
    And now we look forward to working with the Resources Committee, 
which shares jurisdiction over portions of NOAA, to get this bill to 
the Floor.
    Also related to NOAA, we will take up Congressman Rohrabacher's 
bill to create a scholarship for service program at NOAA, as we have at 
NASA and the Department of Energy. Service scholarships are a great way 
to entice students into science, math and engineering while also 
helping the Federal Government develop the workforce it will need. 
These scholarships have been championed tirelessly by Congressman 
Rohrabacher, and I congratulate him for that.
    We are running the scholarship program through as a separate bill 
because specific program authorizations generally are not part of 
agency organic acts.
    We will also take up two bills related to space today. These were 
last minute additions to today's roster, which is something we have 
generally avoided on this committee. But this seemed like an opportune 
time to move these bills, and we can continue to work on them through 
manager's amendments on the Floor.
    Mr. Udall's bill, which the Committee also passed last Congress, 
concerns remote sensing. Mr. Udall will offer an amendment that will 
take care of concerns raised by companies in the remote sensing data 
business--concerns that have stymied progress on this bill in the past. 
I know that Mr. Bonner and I and perhaps some others have some further 
ideas for ``perfecting'' the bill, and we will work on those as the 
bill moves forward.
    Mr. Rohrabacher's bill focuses on Near-Earth Objects, a subject 
that has long concerned him and that has gotten quite a bit of press 
lately. Congressman Rohrabacher has helped us all understand that 
asteroids may present a real threat to Earth and that we need to pay 
greater attention to them.
    All of these bills will improve our lives through increasing our 
understanding of the Earth, how it works and what may threaten it. As 
usual, these bills represent a bipartisan effort. I look forward to 
their passage.
    Mr. Gordon.

    Mr. Gordon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You have summed up 
what we are going to do this morning very well. I just want to 
concur that it is a good idea, I think, to take up these 
additional three bills today, and I want to give my thanks to 
the staff on both sides for the good cooperative work that they 
have done over the last week in trying to bring NOAA together 
as well as these three bills, and I look forward to the markup.
    And I yield my time back.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Gordon follows:]

            Prepared Statement of Representative Bart Gordon

    I want to thank the Chairman for scheduling this markup.
    Originally we were to just take up H.R. 50 today, but I think it is 
to the advantage of our Members that we will expeditiously take up 
three other bills, all of which can probably move on suspension on the 
Floor.
    In addition to the NOAA organic act, I am especially pleased to see 
the Remote Sensing Act move through Committee. We have dealt with this 
in past Congresses and I am happy the Chairman agrees that we can move 
that bill forward today.
    I don't want to delay the process here this morning with an 
extensive preliminary statement, but let me take a moment to thank 
staff on both sides of the aisle for their work to handle these bills. 
I think the Members have been well served through their efforts.
    With that, I yield back, Mr. Chairman.

    Chairman Boehlert. Thank you very much.
    Without objection, Members may place statements in the 
record at this point.
    We will now consider H.R. 1022, George E. Brown, Jr. Near-
Earth Object Survey Act.
    I recognize Mr. Rohrabacher to introduce the bill.
    Mr. Rohrabacher. I would ask permission to submit my 
opening statement for the record.
    Chairman Boehlert. Without objection.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Rohrabacher follows:]

         Prepared Statement of Representative Dana Rohrabacher

    Mr. Chairman, last December, an asteroid 350 yards in diameter 
named ``2004 MN4'' was discovered to have an orbit that will take it 
less than one-tenth of the distance to the Moon (in the region of our 
artificial satellites) in the year 2029.
    According to NASA JPL and the Minor Planet Center at the 
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, several additional close 
encounters are possible in the next decade or two that follow. The 
hazard associated with such an asteroid hitting this planet is fairly 
well known: it could flatten an area the size of Texas and/or cause 
enormous tsunami damage.
    The potential catastrophe of an asteroid hitting Earth should no 
longer be ignored. We need to know what is out there. Accounts of 
asteroids passing close to Earth with almost no prior warning should be 
enough to get our attention. The first step is to assess the threat. 
Given the vast number of asteroids and comets that inhabit the Earth's 
neighborhood, greater efforts for tracking and monitoring these objects 
are critical. This bill would direct NASA to expand their current 
program to track and detect potential threats and would provide a 
funding authorization.
    The current program at NASA searches for near-Earth objects with a 
diameter greater than 1,000 meters. It is vital to find and track 
these, but smaller objects like ``MN4 2004'' can also have a 
devastating effect on humankind. My bill directs NASA to extend that 
search to include objects with a diameter greater than 100 meters. Any 
threat that would wreak havoc on our world should be studied and 
prevented if possible. We have the technology, we need the direction--
this bill provides that.
    Ironically, if we look at asteroids from the perspective of our 
national goals in space, they also offer us not just a threat but also 
unique opportunities. In terms of pure science, asteroids are 
geological time capsules from the era when our solar system was formed. 
Even better, they are orbiting mines of metals, of minerals, and other 
resources that can be possibly used to build large structures in space 
without having to carry up the material to build those structures from 
Earth. So far, NASA has surveyed approximately 650 asteroids, but this 
is a fraction of the projected total population of asteroids and near-
Earth objects. What needs to be done now is to fully understand near-
Earth objects and both the potential threat they could pose to the 
world and the potential good they could bring for the world.
    In closing, asteroids deserve a lot more attention from the 
scientific community and from the American people. One of the first 
steps is through tracking all sizable near-Earth objects, and H.R. 1022 
will help to further this endeavor to secure our future.
    I would like to thank the Chairman and the Members of the Science 
Committee for their support and I look forward to moving H.R. 1022 to 
the House Floor.

    Chairman Boehlert. I recognize Mr. Gordon to present any 
remarks.
    Mr. Gordon. It is a good bill, and I want to thank Mr. 
Rohrabacher for also giving it a good name.
    Chairman Boehlert. I ask unanimous--yeah, that is right, 
and we look to George Brown daily in this committee.
    I ask unanimous consent that the bill is considered as read 
and open to amendment at any point and that Members proceed 
with the amendments in the order of the roster. Without 
objection, so ordered.
    Are there any amendments? Hearing none, the vote is on the 
bill H.R. 1022, George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey 
Act. All of those in favor will say aye. All of those opposed, 
no. In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have it.
    I recognize Mr. Gordon to offer a motion.
    Mr. Gordon. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee 
favorably report H.R. 1022 to the House with the recommendation 
that the bill do pass. Furthermore, I move that the staff be 
instructed to prepare the legislative report and make necessary 
technical and conforming changes and that the Chairman take all 
necessary steps to bring the bill before the House for 
consideration.
    Chairman Boehlert. The question is on the motion to report 
the bill favorably. Those in favor of the motion will signify 
by saying aye. Opposed, no. The ayes have it, and the bill is 
favorably reported.
    Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon 
the table.
    I move that Members have two subsequent calendar days in 
which to submit supplemental, minority, or additional views on 
the measure. I move pursuant to Clause 1 of Rule 22 of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives that the Committee 
authorize the Chairman to offer such motions as may be 
necessary in the House to adopt and pass H.R. 1022, George E. 
Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act. Without objection, so 
ordered.
    I want to thank everybody for participating and for your 
attendance and indulgence.
    This concludes our Committee markup.
    [Whereupon, at 11:15 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]


                               Appendix:

                              ----------                              


      H.R. 1022, Section-by-Section Analysis, Summary of H.R. 1022





               Section-by-Section Analysis of H.R. 1022,
           George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act

Sec. 1. Short Title.

    George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Near-Earth Object Survey.

    Directs the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration (NASA) to establish a program to detect, track, 
catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of near-Earth 
asteroids and comets equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in 
order to assess the threat of such near-Earth objects in striking the 
Earth.
    Amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to include a 
Congressional declaration that the general welfare and security of the 
United States require that the unique competence of NASA in science and 
engineering systems be directed to detecting, tracking, cataloguing, 
and characterizing near-Earth asteroids and comets in order to provide 
warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such near-Earth 
objects impacting the Earth.
    Requires the Administrator to submit each year for the next five 
years a report summarizing the activities the Administrator takes with 
regard to the Near-Earth Object program and a summary of expenditures, 
and a plan and budget request for the program.
    Authorizes $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 and 2007 for 
the program.

                         Summary of H.R. 1022,
           George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act

    The bill directs the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and 
Space Administration (NASA) to establish a program to detect, track, 
catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of near-Earth 
asteroids and comets equal to or greater than 100 meters in diameter in 
order to assess the threat of such near-Earth objects in striking the 
Earth.
    It amends the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 to include 
a Congressional declaration that the general welfare and security of 
the United States require that the unique competence of NASA in science 
and engineering systems be directed to detecting, tracking, 
cataloguing, and characterizing near-Earth asteroids and comets in 
order to provide warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such 
near-Earth objects impacting the Earth.
    The bill authorizes $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 and 
2007 for the program.