The Watch...An Asteroid Research and Detection Project
Space Frontier Foundation logo
Advancing NewSpace

Share your views on Space with your elected representatives! Enter your zip and click above to get info and links to your state and local members of Congress.
An Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects
July 7, 2003
To see the letter, click here.

Biographical Information for the Signers:

Harrison Schmitt is a geologist, former astronaut, and U.S. Senator. He holds a Doctorate in Geology from Harvard University. He served as Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and was the first scientist to walk on the Moon. Jack represented New Mexico in the Senate from 1977-1982. He consults, speaks, and writes on policy issues of the future, space, and the science of the Moon.

Carolyn Shoemaker has discovered more comets than any other living astronomer. Her tally includes 32 comets and more than 300 asteroids, including the co-discovery of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which collided with Jupiter in 1994. Dr. Shoemaker, who earned her doctorate in astronomy from Northern Arizona University, is especially interested in the discovery of asteroids and comets and investigation of ancient impact structures. 

David Levy is an accomplished astronomer and writer.  He has discovered 21 comets, 8 with his own observatory in southern Arizona. With Gene and Carolyn Shoemaker, he discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9, which broke apart and collided with Jupiter in 1994, causing the largest explosion in recorded history. David Levy is also the science editor for Parade Magazine, an Emmy-winning television writer, and has published 29 books on science and astronomy.

John Lewis is a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. His interests in the chemistry and formation of the solar system and the economic development of space have made him a leading proponent of turning potentially hazardous near Earth objects into attractive space resources. An expert on the composition and chemistry of asteroids and comets, Dr. Lewis has written such popular science books as Rain of Iron and Ice and Mining the Sky. Dr. Lewis is also highly respected member of The Watch Council of The Space Frontier Foundation.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. He is a graduate of Harvard and holds a doctorate in astrophysics from Columbia University. His research interests include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way galaxy. A popular educator, Dr. Tyson is also a visiting research scientist and lecturer at Princeton University; his books and television appearances continue to stimulate the public’s fascination with space science. 

Freeman Dyson is a mathematical physicist and professor emeritus of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. His research has been spread over many fields, pure mathematics, atomic physics, astrophysics, statistical mechanics, and the origin of life. He has written extensively on the subjects of space exploration and the challenges of modern technology, and is the 2000 recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

Richard Hallion is the U.S. Air Force Historian, responsible for directing the worldwide Air Force historical and museum programs. He is the former Charles A. Lindbergh Professor of Aerospace History, Smithsonian Institution, 1990-1991. Dr. Hallion is the author of 15 books relating to aerospace history, and teaches and lectures widely.

Thomas Jones is a planetary scientist and veteran astronaut. A Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Academy, Tom has piloted strategic bombers, and served the CIA and NASA as an engineer and scientist. He holds a doctorate in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. On his last shuttle mission, he helped install the Destiny science lab at the International Space Station. Dr. Jones is now an independent consultant, author, and speaker.

Bruce Rubin is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter (for his original screenplay, Ghost). He also co-wrote (with Michael Tolkin) the film Deep Impact, a dramatic story of humanity’s reactions when a comet is discovered on a collision course with Earth. Through his extensive research for Deep Impact, Mr. Rubin became convinced of the enormous importance of an adequate response to the NEO hazard, and has become an outspoken advocate of concerted action to deal with what he perceives as a real threat to the planet and our species.

Lucy McFadden is a planetary scientist at the University of Maryland College Park. Her research interests include the study of the composition of asteroids and comets and their relationship to solar system evolution. Dr. McFadden was a member of the science team for the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission, NEAR, the first spacecraft to orbit and land on an asteroid. She is Co-Investigator on NASA's upcoming small body Discovery missions, Deep Impact and Dawn.

Chris Jones is an amateur astronomer and a new high school graduate in Fairfax, Virginia, where he was president of his senior class. His interest in astronomy began at age six and has grown steadily; he recently earned an astronomy high achievement award. A Tae Kwon Do black belt and an all-star soccer player, he currently scans the skies using an 8" reflecting telescope. His growing awareness of the potential threat posed by Near Earth Objects has convinced him of the need for aggressive government action to address that threat.

Marc Schlather is President of ProSpace, a grassroots space policy organization. ProSpace is devoted to enabling the next generation of space explorers by opening wider access to the space frontier. Its members work to accomplish those goals by communicating with the Congress and Executive branch on a regular basis about new ideas and solutions for space. Mr. Schlather also serves as Executive Director of the Space Roundtable at the United States Senate, which is chaired by ten members of that body.

William E. Burrows is Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at New York University. He directs NYU’s Science and Environmental Reporting program. A noted space historian and policy expert, he writes frequently on air, space, and national security. Mr. Burrows is the author of Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security, and This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age.

Space Frontier Foundation
16 First Avenue
Nyack, NY 10960
Send Us Your Comments
Join the Fight!

Recommended books by John S. Lewis. Asteroids are both a threat to our planet and a gold mine of resources for humanity. What would it be like if entrepreneurs could literally 'mine the sky'? Click above to order from Amazon.

Copyright © 1996 - 2008 Space Frontier Foundation. All rights reserved.
All work contained herein is protected by United States copyright/ intellectual property law.