H. R. 3737
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 3, 2007
Mr. Fortuño (for himself, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Mr. Burton of Indiana, Mr. Walsh of New York, Mrs. Lowey, Mr. Ortiz, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Weller of Illinois, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, and Mr. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology
To provide for National Science Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration utilization of the Arecibo Observatory.
The Congress finds the following:
Arecibo Observatory is the world’s largest single-aperture telescope. It has been recognized as an Electrical Engineering Milestone by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and as a Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Its visitor center draws 120,000 visitors each year.
Arecibo radio astronomy led to the first discovery of planets outside our own solar system, the first discovery of a binary pulsar (resulting in a Nobel Prize), and the first detailed three-dimensional mapping of how galaxies are distributed in the universe.
Arecibo Observatory's planetary radar has unique abilities worldwide for research on our solar system, including near-Earth asteroids. Besides their scientific importance, near-Earth asteroids may be both a significant hazard to Earth and a potential source of future resources.
Arecibo Observatory is a leading United States laboratory for research on Earth’s ionosphere.
Congress has mandated that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration detect, track, catalogue, and characterize near-Earth asteroids and comets in order to provide warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such near-Earth objects to the Earth. By being on the forefront of basic research involving Near-Earth Objects, Space Weather, and Global Climate Change, the Arecibo Observatory is an outstanding resource to Congress and to the American People.
The efforts taken to date by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation for detecting and characterizing the hazards of Earth orbit-crossing asteroids and comets are not sufficient to the threat posed by such objects to cause widespread destruction and loss of life.
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. The Arecibo Observatory is an invaluable and unique asset in warning and mitigating potential hazards posed by near-Earth objects.
Continuation of operation
The Director of the National Science Foundation shall—
ensure that the Arecibo Observatory is fully funded to continue its research on Earth's ionosphere, continue its research in radio astronomy, and continue research on the solar system; and
coordinate with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to ensure that the capabilities of the Arecibo Observatory continue to be available for National Aeronautics and Space Administration research in characterizing and mitigating Near Earth Objects, and other research as needed.