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H.R. 912, the Charles “Pete” Conrad Astronomy Awards Act, named for the third man to walk on the moon, establishes awards to encourage amateur astronomers to discover and track near-earth asteroids. The bill directs the NASA Administrator to make awards, of $3,000 each, based on the recommendations of the Smithsonian Minor Planet Center. Earth has experienced several near misses with asteroids that would have proven catastrophic, and the scientific community relies heavily on amateur astronomers to discover and track these objects.
“Given the vast number of asteroids and comets that inhabit Earth’s neighborhood, greater efforts for tracking and monitoring these objects are critical. That is why I introduced H.R. 912, the Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad Astronomy Awards Act, which is a tribute to Pete Conrad for his tremendous contributions to the aerospace community over the last four decades,” said bill sponsor, Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). “Asteroids deserve a lot more attention from the scientific community. The first step is a thorough tracking of all sizeable Near Earth Objects, and H.R. 912 is a modest step towards this goal.”
Original Source: House Committee On Science News Release