Cash for Killer Asteroids
March 3, 2004 12:31 PM   Subscribe

The Charles "Pete" Conrad Astronomy Awards Act, passed by the House today, authorizes NASA to award $3,000 to amateur astronomers who locate asteroids that may possibly crash into the Earth and destroy life as we know it. Good to know that $3,000 is the going rate for saving the planet.
posted by taragl (14 comments total)
 
...3000 bucks, what is that, like a thousand cups of coffee?
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:50 PM on March 3, 2004


Not like you are gonna be able to spend more than that before the Earth gets hit and life gets wiped out.

Because, by the time the the processing of the paperwork to get the money happens, the 'roid will hit.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:59 PM on March 3, 2004


It wasn't passed by the House, it was passed (a voice vote) by the House Committee on Science. I assume it now goes to the full House. (Although maybe if the committee says yes, it's as good as passed.)
posted by LeLiLo at 1:01 PM on March 3, 2004


Reminds me of Dirk Gently. "Detective
Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE."
posted by inksyndicate at 1:02 PM on March 3, 2004


Oops. My apologies, taragl. I thought today was March 4; the committee approved it on February 4, and it did pass this afternoon.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:07 PM on March 3, 2004


To be fair, you're getting paid $3000 for pointing out that there's a problem, not for actually saving the Earth, which I assume would be sub-contracted to a lovable band of oil-rig roustabouts or somesuch.
posted by cardboard at 1:18 PM on March 3, 2004


We can only pray that Bruce Willis will still be alive.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:43 PM on March 3, 2004


Actually you get the cash for pointing out that there might be a problem.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:06 PM on March 3, 2004


How much do I get for pointing out the problem IN the White House and its impending destruction of the earth?
posted by fenriq at 3:57 PM on March 3, 2004


Ah, MeFi cynicism. I think this is a fairly harmless way to encourage people (yes even children!) to take an interest in something beyond what you're going to get in your Happy Meal. Think of the children.

What is truly worrisome is why, if your given name is Charles, you would want to be called Pete.
posted by skyscraper at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2004


For the love of Pete?
posted by spazzm at 5:01 PM on March 3, 2004


I don't work in the insurance industry or anything but...

The chances of the Earth being hit by an asteroid before the human race reaches destruction through some other method are pretty slim. They could make this a 3 million dollar prize and really get people excited about possibly finding that asteroid. Heck, the odds are worse than the lottery and that pays out a whole heck of a lot. A lottery ticket is one dollar, a good telecope and searching time cost a whole lot more.

My proposal? 300 Million dollars and a bunker stocked with food and supplies to restart the human race.
posted by skallas at 6:46 PM on March 3, 2004


bashos_frog is right on. It's an astronomy prize, not a saving the world prize. All you have to do to get the observation prize is spot the brightest near-Earth asteroid that year. That's it. It doesn't even have to be the closest, although it probably would be, and you don't have to track its trajectory or anything like that.

$3 million for pointing out that big rock that is almost as close as the moon? It would drive up telescope sales, to be sure, but it seems a bit excessive. At that price, we might as well just build a dedicated telescope to find the little buggers.
posted by skoosh at 4:18 AM on March 4, 2004


Speaking of Pete....
Pete seems to be a common nickname in the space biz. Maybe it's a nickname like "the Greek" among oddsmakers.
posted by cardboard at 12:18 PM on March 4, 2004


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