GOP announces new climate strategy: Abandon Earth

New House Research and Education Subcommitte chair Mo Brooks rehashes climate zombie talking points

I’m also old enough to remember when the same left-wing part of our society was creating a global cooling scare in order to generate funds for their pet projects. So 30-some years ago the big scare was global cooling, and once they drained that [topic], they shifted to global warming….

… it’s cyclical. So how are the proponents going to convince us that it’s not just part of a cyclical pattern?

… to the extent that we have higher levels of carbon dioxide. That means that plant life grows better, because it is an essential gas for all forms of plant life. Does that mean I want more of it? I don’t know about the adverse effects of carbon dioxide on human beings.

That would be freshman Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) — from Huntsville whose district includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center — whom the GOP in its infinite wisdom has made chair of the House Science Committee’s panel on basic research and education.

He rocketed over many more senior members to head the panel that oversees research activities at NASA, NSF, DOE and NOAA. Sadly, he doesn’t even know that in the 1970s, most scientists and most scientific papers were warning about global warming (see “The global cooling myth dies again“).  In fact, 30 years ago, James Hansen and six other NASA atmospheric physicists, published a seminal article in Science, “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide,” warned of “creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.”

So it’s no big surprise that the see-no-warming, hear-no-warming, speak-no-warming GOP plan to gut NASA’s global warming research and focus on manned spaceflight.  Brad Johnson has that story:

Republicans have a new idea: instead of wasting time protecting this planet, let’s figure out how to escape it.

Over a hundred years ago, scientists started warning that the unconstrained burning of fossil fuels could make planet Earth uninhabitable for human civilization. Since then, we have spewed billions of tons of greenhouse pollution into the atmosphere, acidifying the oceans, devastating ecosystems, and intensifying catastrophic weather. Fortunately, scientists have also found that the strategy of reducing pollution would unleash an economic revolution with clean energy and keep our planet friendly to the human race. Many of these scientists work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA), which has a billion-dollar budget for studying the “natural and man-made changes in our environment” that “affect the habitability of our planet.”

However, Republicans in Congress find the clean energy pathway unreasonable, arguing the costs of reducing our toxic dependence on coal and oil would be too great. Perhaps stung by accusations that they are simply the Party of No, a group of House Republicans have now put forward an alternate strategy to avoiding disastrous global warming: the first step being to scrap NASA’s world-leading climate science research funding, and direct it instead into sending people into unpolluted outer space:

“Global warming funding presents an opportunity to reduce spending without unduly impacting NASA’s core human spaceflight mission. With your help, we can reorient NASA’s mission back toward human spaceflight by reducing funding for climate change research and reallocating those funds to NASA’s human spaceflight accounts, all while moving overall discretionary spending toward 2008 levels.”

The signatories of this Abandon Earth letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) are Reps. Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Pete Olson (R-TX) and Bill Posey (R-FL), all from districts that play a role in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) manned spaceflight program. As they are currently on planet Earth, they are also all from districts threatened by the effects of global warming.

Although the signatories don’t explicitly state that the goal of shifting funding from climate research into manned spaceflight is to find a new home for the 350 million people of the United States, one can only assume that they support that goal. Signatory Mo Brooks (R-AL), the new subcommittee chair for the House science committee’s panel on basic research and education, told ScienceInsider that “I haven’t seen anything that convinces me” that greenhouse emissions should be reduced, and will hold hearings about cutting as much of the U.S. climate research budget as possible.

As they are responsible politicians who worry about “[f]uture generations of Americans,” they surely don’t intend to stick our children with catastrophic sea level rise, summer-long heat waves of over 100 degrees, superfueled storms and floods, intense droughts, desertification, and mass species extinction without offering them a Planet B:

“Space is the ultimate high ground and nations such as China, Russia, and India are anxious to seize the mantle of space supremacy should we decide to cede it. We must not put ourselves in the position of watching Chinese astronauts planting their flag on the moon while we sit earthbound by our own shortsightedness. Future generations of Americans deserve better.”

The Planet-B Republicans rightfully recognize that the moon “” without an atmosphere or liquid water “” would lead to serious resource competition between the 6 billion people now on this planet, perhaps with China the greatest threat to our post-Earth plans. Although China does have a growing space program, its government is primarily investing in the “save this planet first” strategy, spending twice as much as the United States on clean technology, establishing mandatory standards for renewable energy production, mandatory energy efficiency standards, and mandatory fuel economy standards.

Some people might say that ramping up interplanetary travel from the 12 men who walked on the moon to millions or billions of people, while figuring out how to terraform lifeless planets when we’re failing to keep our own climate stable, in a few decades is a higher risk, more costly endeavor than increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy by one or two percentage points a year. Although those people would be technically correct, they would also be failing to appreciate the total awesomeness of the Abandon Earth plan.

The House climate zombies are, literally, unearthly.

51 Responses to GOP announces new climate strategy: Abandon Earth

  1. Joan Savage says:

    “Some 30 years ago” was the 1980s, when the research on Nuclear Winter was published, showing that nuclear war would cause catastrophic global cooling. It was one of the several background pieces that helped move Congress to back off on the Cold War. Mo Brooks’ home town, Huntsville, Alabama was, and is, the home of the Redstone Arsenal of rockets for delivery of nuclear weapons. It is more likely that Brooks’ reference to remembering news on the threat of global cooling has nothing to do with carbon dioxide, and that his reference to a cycle is more likely to a presumed political cycle.

    Recognize a positioning for a pork proposal in this. Building rockets that send people to outer space has been an Alabama industry for decades, so none of the proposal to flee the planet should come as a surprise, when coming from associates of the freshman congressman from Huntsville, Alabama. It’s a pork proposal, boosted by rocket fuel.

    It would be a very useful to help the congressmen find some more sane ways to boost their local economies.

  2. Joan Savage says:

    That should be, alternate ways to boost local economies.

  3. catman306 says:

    Perhaps Charles and David plan on going to the moon, or mars, or somewhere else, while the rest of us sit in the slowly boiling climate change stew pot. They should leave tomorrow on a private flight.

    Isn’t buying the government still against the law in the US?

  4. John McCormick says:

    These repugs are all members of a political mafia. They are sworn to loyalty and face sudden death if they try to leave or disobey.

    There will be more of them because this political mafia is a growth industry and there is a hell of a lot of money on the table.

    John McCormick

  5. llewelly says:

    New? Wasn’t this the theology of James G. Watt, Reagan’s secretary of the Interior?

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    “Perhaps Charles and David plan on going to the moon, or mars, or somewhere else”

    Or maybe perhaps they are just mad and plan a business model with geoengineering us out of the situation. And at the same time play russian roulette with a fully loaded revolver. Or maybe a business man should stick to how to make money with clean tech in the first place, FFS!

    The wind changed!

  7. J Bowers says:

    Here come the Dark Ages again. The Endarkenment is upon us ;)

    As Gavin Schmidt said, the problem isn’t the politicisation of science, it’s the scientisation of politics.

  8. Scrooge says:

    Another republican that plays the I don’t know card. On a subject that could be learned by middle school students. So once again we have someone who says we have to reinvent the wheel just so he can understand it. And to say it again, someone was elected that is either lying or incompetent.

  9. MapleLeaf says:

    Hansen et al. (1981):
    “Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.”

    So far his predictions have been excellent. Please ignore the disinformation form the ignorant ideologues in the GOP (and their allies) folks.

    What blows my mind is that their lies are so transparent yet the Democrats and media fail to call them on them. Note to MSM– wake-up!

  10. h20_nh says:

    #1, haven’t we already been to the moon and planted a flag? Or was that some left wingy thing too?

    #2, Do we have a Manchurian candidate or a Manchurian political party?

  11. I wish I could be around when the faux news crowd finds their ocean front property flooded, their vacation homes burnt to the ground in a drought driven forest fire and/or washed away in the third 100 year flood of the year.

    The only way they could remain so ignorant is if they worked at it.

  12. J Bowers says:

    Scrooge #8 — “So once again we have someone who says we have to reinvent the wheel just so he can understand it.”

    A keeper. Thanks.

  13. Jeffrey Davis says:

    The Republican Party has abandoned anything that resembles an intellectual foundation beyond “Whatever Lola Wants” for the wealthy.

    Externalities. The future. Children. Education. Health. IIt makes no difference. Reason and thought are wasted. If their funders want X, they’ll battle for X as if they’re battling to save the Holy Grail.

    The GOP has become a party of errand boys.

  14. J Bowers says:

    Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science. Robert L. Park, Ph.D

    In 1993, however, with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc….
    …In ruling that such testimony was not credible because of lack of supporting evidence, the court instructed federal judges to serve as “gatekeepers,” screening juries from testimony based on scientific nonsense. Recognizing that judges are not scientists, the court invited judges to experiment with ways to fulfill their gatekeeper responsibility.

    If only that applied to Congress.

  15. Barry says:

    “while figuring out how to terraform lifeless planets”

    Hmmmmm, if they don’t trust climate science to understand the most basic fundamentals of Earth’s climate…I wonder who they have in mind that can create a similar one from scratch on a dead planet?

    They could send Lindzen…but he would probably just say the Moon keeps it’s atmosphere how it likes it regardless of what we throw at it. Why bother trying?

    Spencer? Sure. The only problem is that the resulting atmosphere would be several degrees hotter than he was hoping for.

    Lomborg? Nah, he would insist that creating a livable climate just wastes money that would be better spent on book tours.

    Inhofe? Clueless on the science, but definitely a good choice in my book.

  16. Alan Frederick says:

    Congress is like an engine that has seized up. The fan blades are turning, and hot air is coming out, but nothing useful is produced. There is no longer any way of fixing the system from within.

  17. Paulm says:

    So don’t these GOP guys take advice at all from respected scientist and their institutes? Is he accusing the american national foundation of science of being a left wing group?

    Why don’t these groups write letters to individuals above? Why aren’t they require to sit and consult with these most respected bodies?

    What gives?

  18. George says:

    On the plus side, a continuation of manned space programs might ensure that, in the distant future, when we realize that we have to buy electricity from orbiting solar power satellites owned by the Chinese, at least we will have some capability for trying to catch up.

  19. Mike Roddy says:

    We need to listen to Werner Herzog to understand Brooks:

    “Stupidity and evil are the same thing. If you don’t believe me,
    look into the eye of a chicken”.

  20. Barry says:

    Over 50 years ago a Texan said:

    “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”
    — President Lyndon Johnson 1965

    Amazing that half a century ago the nefarious and secretive cabal of climate scientists were already infiltrating government in their rapacious plan to take dimes away from every American to research our own planet.

    Thank God we have brave Republicans who wisely refused to learn basic science in school so they would not be mesmerized by this long running plot of mumbo jumbo facty things.

    If tossing innocents into the volcano to appease the angry weather gods worked for the ancient Mayans it will work for us.

    As Lomborg would say, my spare change would be much better used if it remained where it is: lost under my sofa cushions.

  21. Ed Hummel says:

    Too many good comments above for me to say anything more than AMEN!!!

  22. George Ennis says:

    “Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) — from Huntsville whose district includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center” The irony of someone being so close physically to science at its best but intellectually, it as though he is living on another planet waiting to discover intelligent life, since clearly his “world” has none.

    I just think of the clock ticking down. If you are an optimist you believe we have another 5 years or 10 years at best before we have to start turning things around.

  23. Chris Winter says:

    J Bower, thanks for that link; I’ve bookmarked it. I’ve disagreed with what Dr. Park says about manned space flight in the past, but here he’s right on target.

    I remember an article by Tom Heppenheimer (I believe it was published in Omni) that, IIRC, pointed out investors in six different perpetual-motion devices were able to fight off lawsuits claiming the devices were fraud. (Disclaimer: This memory is vague.)

    I searched unsuccessfully for Heppenheimer’s article. But I did find this:

    It’s not totally off topic; it talks about global warming at one point.

  24. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    I think that there are too many snarky points in this story and comments that are distracting. The lead is getting a little burried. * The GOP is actually trying to defund NASA GISS research on climate *. They want to stop the new satellites from going up. Focus! That cannot be allowed to happen. Would Obama veto the move if it passes the Senate too? What if he needs to strike a deal on the budget and is stuck in a corner?

  25. Esop says:

    The US Military is spending huge amounts of dollars preparing for climate change and an ice free Arctic Ocean.
    I would like to know why the GOP does not protest against this use of taxpayer money.

  26. Aaron Lewis says:

    Wheat (bread) prices this summer are likely to shock the GOP back to reality this summer. The US, Russian, and Australian wheat crops are likely to be adversely affected by weather. China’s 2011 wheat crop is likely to be very adversely affected by drought. India is expecting a very good crop

    China is both the world’s largest producer and consumer of wheat. And, China has US dollars to buy wheat on the world market. That means that China will be right there at the Chicago Board of Trade bidding up the price of wheat. That means that a small wheat crop in China will push up the price of wheat in the US.

    This summer the GOP congressmen are going to be talking about the the high price of bread. In a two party system it is hard to distract people from rapidly rising food prices. The cause of the rising food prices is extreme weather caused by global warming.

    IF not AGW, what is the GOP going to blame for the high price of bread?

  27. Scrooge says:

    To catman way back @ 3. Some of us believe that the supreme court with recent rulings has said it is legal for someone to buy the government.

  28. Seth says:


    “Congress is like an engine that has seized up. The fan blades are turning, and hot air is coming out, but nothing useful is produced. There is no longer any way of fixing the system from within.”

    On the contrary. It is a well-oiled and supremely efficient machine for delivering needed pork to big business, subsidies to deserving bankers and dissipating the political frustration of the voting public through rhetoric finely tuned to themes that focus groups find emotionally resonant.

    The machine does what it was built to do. The challenge is not so much to “fix the system from within” as to devise some means of altering its design.

  29. J Bowers says:

    @ Scrooge #27

    Hopefully the State of Vermont will succeed in changing the Constitution, so that “person” will be strictly defined as “human being”.

  30. paulm says:

    growth growth growth…. depletion depletion depletion…. emissions emissions emissions….

    Obama Speaks At Northern Michigan University (LIVE VIDEO)

  31. spacermase says:

    So, having some background working with space-related topics, I’d like to point out the following:

    1)Space colonization in of itself is a worthy goal, but anyone who tells you it will single-handedly solve the problems of overpopulation or sustainability is trying to sell you something- we simply don’t have the infrastructure for it, and, barring any major technological breakthroughs, it will be decades before it’s even really an option, anyway. The wealthy aren’t going to be able to flee the Earth any
    time soon, any more than we can.
    2) There aren’t any easily habitable planets anywhere near here (at least, not that we know about), and while habitats could be constructed, again, it will take decades to do so.
    3)More immediately, if one area of NASA gets cut, it usually doesn’t get re-distributed to the rest of the agency- it simply gets directed elsewhere, usually to pay down the deficit. Cutting Earth Science (which includes far more than AGW research, incidentally) will not necessarily mean an increase on the human spaceflight side of the agency.
    4) Also, while earth science is specifically mentioned in NASA’s charter, human spaceflight, curiously, is not- in order to get this passed, they’d have to amend the Space Act.

    This isn’t Abandon Earth. This is political theater, and nothing more.

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    Today enemies of the United States do not have to attack with an army, no instead they can buy Faux news and the “we do everything for money” aka republican party. Agenda is to block, stall and do the opposite what the experts advise, resulting in collapse from within.

  33. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    And now….. part of NOAA is on the cutting block too. $336 million. I can’t find details yet on which section of the organization is being proposed for defunding. But at NASA it was targeted specifically at GISS climate research, and at the EPA it was specifically targeted at CO2 regulation. That completes the targeting of the public sector climate tripod.

  34. Prokaryotes says:


    FOX NEWS INSIDER: “Stuff Is Just Made Up”

  35. Prokaryotes says:

    Rachel Maddow Calls Out The Republicans On Their Big Government Agenda

    On her MSNBC program, Rachel Maddow debunked the idea that all Republicans support small government. The reality is that all Republicans talk small government, but most want to take away liberties and grow government. Maddow said, “Republicans all say they are small government libertarian conservatives. But what they have done when they have power is authoritarian big government stuff.”

  36. Crank says:

    …a group of House Republicans have now put forward an alternate strategy to avoiding disastrous global warming: the first step being to scrap NASA’s world-leading climate science research funding, and direct it instead into sending people into unpolluted outer space:

    I think this is a terrific idea and we should get to work on sending large numbers of people to Mars to colonize it right away.

    Also, in recognition of the GOP’s brilliance of coming up with such an astounding idea, we should also grant them the privilege of being permitted to escape Earth first; we can send them on the very first giant shuttle to Mars. The most important thing is that we send all of the GOP geniuses to Mars as soon as possible, before it’s too late.

    The rest of us will be along later.

  37. 350 Now says:

    Thanks Christopher Johnson @ 25, 34 for your input. Looks like that is what they are shooting for. It’s easier to deny the melting of the polar ice without the eyes in the skies… Just like bank robbers wanting security cameras removed to cover up the scene of the crime? I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the K industries’ attorneys drafted this letter to cleverly disguise its intent.

    And… for some better news:
    Massive Closures of US Coal Plants Loom, Chu says

  38. David Smith says:

    J Bowers @ 30 – Thanks for the best news I’ve heard all year.

    On a different note, if you look in any dictionary you will find the definition of a (political) conservative is one who wants to preserve the status quo – one who is “disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.” In the current political environment this concept has been extended to incorporate any means necessary to accomplish conservative goals. One shouldn’t be surprised when conservatives do this.

    The reason it doesn’t make any sense that rational intelligent people in elected office could make such stupid arguments in the face of scientific consensus is because it’s all strategy and theater to influence their constituency in pursuit of conservative goals. It’s not about the science. Science is a random target, like flag burning. The purpose is to get people riled so nothing changes. We need to spend less time getting riled and depressed and more time getting down to business.

  39. Berbalang says:

    I keep getting the feeling that the Koch brothers and the GOP watched “Alternative 3” and thought “What a great idea!”

  40. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    At the increasingly denialist The Guardian, where the Comments blogs are now best described as a moronic inferno of denialism, one of the chief denialist stenographers is Simon Jenkins. He confabulated a delightful story some months ago of his actually recalling ‘attending’ a ‘global cooling conference’ held when he was a mere lad, back in the 1970s. Jenkins is one of that sub-species of denialists that believes (who knows if he is as dumb as Krauthammer, and who cares?)or pretends to believe, that climate science has not progressed in forty years. Or perhaps he believes that, science having allegedly got it wrong once, it can never be correct in the future or perhaps he is just an opportunist who will use any argument no matter how brainless to further his ideological purposes, and who knows that the Dunning-Krugerites are too dim to see the gaping flaws in the logic.
    As for the Republican ‘know-nothings’, it’s pretty plain what their purpose is. They may indeed, as Muhammad Ali used to say, not be ‘As dumb as they look’, and are cynically proposing the destruction of astrophysical climate research because they well know that the findings will undermine their obscurantist, irrational, pre-Enlightenment religious crusade. As Goethe observed there is nothing more terrible than ignorance in action, but when you wed ignorance to stupidity and ideological zealotry and arm it with billions in propaganda dollars and political power it is a sure recipe for disaster.

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I’ve just had a Revelation! They’re coming quite frequently later. The Republicans are all in favour of leaving this planet, and doing it in style, while the rest of us Godless idolators who worship the Golden Calves of ‘Science’ and ‘Rationality’ are ‘Left’ Behind to burn, baby, burn! Yes, comrades in sinful adoration of so-called ‘science’, it’s ‘The Rapture’. Any day now you’ll turn on your TVs to FoxNews or to a Congressional ‘debate’ and all that you will see are little (perhaps not so little) piles of clothing, that slumped to the ground as the elect were mysteriously transported to sit at God’s Right hand.Leaving aside the unlovely thought of legions of naked pathocrats soaring up to Glory through the ether, like an armada of Flying Pigs, we must face unpleasant facts. If we neglect the role of real religious fundamentalism, rather than concentrating on the quasi-religious ideological zealotry of denialism we will miss a vital strand to their thinking, if you can call the discombobulated interference patterns produced by a handful of neurons attempting to produce coherent signals that can cross synapses clogged with the detritus of hydrogenated fats, corn-based fructose and congenital malice, thinking. As anyone familiar with this strand of Rightwing religiosity knows, these people despise this life, this world and those that do not share their religious fundamentalist bigotry. Whereas you or I might see it as a crime to despoil this beautiful and bounteous planet, for these fundamentalists to do so is a religious obligation, and the beauty of nature is an abomination. They long for an apocalypse wherein the vast majority of humanity will suffer hideously for a thousand years, while they sit aloft, trimming their nails and laughing at our travails. If you ever wonder why these extreme Rightwingers seem determined to cause a climate catastrophe, it is because, in their perverted religiosity, they see it as God’s Will, and fit punishment for the rest of us.

  42. Charles says:

    We’ve known since the mid-term election results that this was coming; Joe you have warned us. And I suspect it is going to get much worse. I expect a number of “head in a vise” type posts from you, Joe, over the coming months. We will look on with a heady mix of fascination and horror at what is to come, the tragic result of ideology and the dumbing down of science.

  43. Wes Rolley says:

    The more I read about this Congress, the closer I come to thinking that we need to follow the Egyptians into the streets.

  44. Zetetic says:

    While it’s amusing to joke about the Republicans wanting the leave the planet, it’s obvious that this is just their attempt at adding another ring to their circus (as in bread and circuses…minus the bread) while simultaneously trying to silence scientific heresy against their sacred corporate masters.

    Obviously, they just want to kill all that nasty scientific research that keeps coming up with inconvenient evidence of AGW.

    Especially since they also know that the US climate monitoring satellites are aging and need to be replaced soon. Just let the current satellites die without replacing them. That way they can’t be accused of directly killing NASA climate research, but the research still gets quietly killed anyhow.

    All while distracting the voters with a side-show filed with plenty of chest-thumping about how great America is because of manned space-flight.

  45. Chris Winter says:

    Tangentially related…

    Study confirms outrage gap (my phrase)

    When it comes to inflammatory language, is one side really worse than the other? Yes, found the Tufts researchers: “Our data indicate that the right uses decidedly more outrage speech than the left. Taken as a whole, liberal content is quite nasty in character, following the outrage model of emotional, dramatic and judgment-laden speech. Conservatives, however, are even nastier.
    Left is Mean but Right is Meaner, Says New Study of Political Discourse
    Tufts Finds “Outrage Talk” on the Rise among Liberals & Conservatives
    Feb. 10, 2011

  46. RyV. says:

    I’m as deeply concerned about climate change as the next… probably more so… but please let’s not as an Earth-oriented movement start to demonize interplanetary human space flight. It’s anti-science in a different way than we’re getting on the climate change issue from Republicans… but it’s still anti-science.

  47. Prokaryotes says:

    In a perfect evolutionary environment we would have had by now terraformed Mars, space-cities, manned space flight beyond our solar system and a lot of technologies we now might never even find.

  48. David Laing says:

    What a wonderful idea! Pack up all the climate-change-denying Republicans and ship them off to Planet B. The idea actually isn’t new. Back in the ’70s, the Princeton physicist Gerard K. O’Neill wrote a book called The High Frontier, all about the enormous economic potential of creating real estate in space in the form of hollow space colonies in solar orbit constructed from raw materials mined from the asteroid belt. My new novel Beautyworld describes the ultimate threat to Earth posed by this space-based empire when, 14000 years from now, they have finally mined out the asteroid belt and are turning their avaricious eyes toward the Earth-Moon system.