Earlier last week a group of space explorers from the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) held a meeting with the UN in which they highly recommended an international defense in case a dangerous object such as an asteroid were to be headed toward Earth. It’s been 65 million years since such an event. In 2004 there was a scare with the asteroid Apophis which was recalculated to not be a threat. ASE has predicted there will be an immediate threat within the next 15 years.
Schweickart, an astronaught working with the ASE, says that they do not expect the UN to carry out an space missions, they just want somebody in charge of decision making. He says, “When you have an asteroid threatening Earth, it’s uncertain where it’s going to hit until the last minute; the decision to take action has to be coordinated by the international community…. We’ve developed a program to get the international community prepared to make timely decisions so the technology we know we have can be used to protect life”
There have been several proposals in the past years on how to deflect an asteroid. The main proposal by the European Space Agency would involve sending up two space crafts. The first craft would plow into the asteroid while the second craft would check for a change in trajectory.
xPirate offers his thoughts: I’m still deciding whether I see asteroids as a direct threat to Earth right now. I think, given the 65 million years since the last major impact, that we’re probably due for something soon, right? Or not. Either way, it’s important to have a plan in case there was such a threat. The problems I see are that any asteroid that’s going to cause a big threat wouldn’t be easily moved by an man-made spacecraft. Perhaps if there is an asteroid headed to wipe all of us out, maybe it’s just our time to become extinct and we should accept that. Of course, scientists would never go for that.
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