The U.S. Senate on Monday passed unanimously a bill co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner that would improve the country’s forecasting ability for adverse space weather events.
“An event has the potential to disrupt essential services, communications, and everyday technologies we rely on. It’s important that we prioritize the research and development necessary to reduce the risk and allow our nation to react and recover from these events,” said Gardner.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter sponsored a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology took action on the measure in January, but it has not received a vote before the full House.
The Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act clarifies the roles of more than half a dozen federal government agencies in forecasting and modeling space weather. Potentially harmful effects could occur on Earth and to space hardware from electromagnetic activity, solar eruption, solar flare and radiation.
The bill would also direct multiple federal agencies to develop backup data collection for the 25-year-old Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite, which helps to forecast solar storms but is beyond its design life.