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Gohmert asks if federal agencies can change Earth's or moon's orbits to fight climate change

Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertWray grilled on FBI's handling of Jan. 6 Gohmert asks if federal agencies can change Earth's or moon's orbits to fight climate change Democrats debate shape of new Jan. 6 probe MORE (R-Texas) on Tuesday asked a representative from the U.S. Forest Service if it was possible to alter the orbit of the moon or the Earth as a way of combating climate change, though it was unclear if he was being serious.

Gohmert was speaking with Jennifer Eberlien, associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing.

"I understand from what's been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change," Gohmert said to Eberlien, adding that a past director of NASA had once told him that orbits of the moon and the Earth were changing.

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"Is there anything that the National Forest Service, or BLM can do to change the course of the moon's orbit or the Earth's orbit around the sun?" Gohmert asked Eberlien. "Obviously they would have profound effects on our climate."

"I would have to follow up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert," Eberlien responded. 

"Well, if you figure out a way that you in the Forest Service can make that change, I'd like to know," Gohmert added.

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Gohmert later responded to tweets about his question by noting BLM stands for the Bureau of Land Management.

As NASA explains in a blog post, Earth's orbit changes from being close to perfectly circular to being slightly more elliptical in a cycle that takes about 100,000 years. The orbit is currently around as close to being circular as it can be.

The angle at which the Earth tilts also shifts slightly or "wobbles" on its axis over the course of tens of thousands of years.

These changes are called Milanković cycles after Milutin Milanković, the Serbian astronomer who first hypothesized them.

These shifts affect Earth's climate in both the short-term and long-term, though they have a relatively minor impact on the planet's seasons and are not behind global warming, according to NASA.

Astronomers have long observed that the Earth's moon is slowly drifting away, moving about an inch away every year.

-Updated 1:33 p.m.