At a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee, Representative Louis Gohmert of Texas noted he had heard from a former official of NASA that the orbit of the Moon around the Earth and the orbit of the Earth around the Sun fluctuates slightly.
Indeed, variations in the celestial mechanics of the Moon's orbit had been known by the ancient Greeks. Astronomers today refer to these variations as an axial precession.
But, Gohmert, in a hearing with an official of the National Forest System -- a nook of the U.S. federal government which, among other things, oversees the nation's timber supply, its management of wildfires, and the planting of undergrowth most beneficial to wildlife -- expressed concern about the effects of climate change and asked whether the forest service bureaucracy might do something to reverse those effects by altering the orbit of the Moon.
"Is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM (the Bureau of Land Management) can do to change the course of the Moon's orbit or the Earth's orbit around the Sun? he asked, noting that an orbital adjustment would have a profound effect of the climate.
Jennifer Eberlien, an associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, nonplussed at a question widely outside of her usual running lane, was at her diplomatic best.
"I would have to follow-up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert," she replied.