Workshop Emphasizes Need for International Response in Dealing with Earth-Threatening Asteroids
Released: 11/4/2010 4:00 PM EDT
Source: Secure World Foundation
Newswise — International decision-making will be required to coordinate a global response to deflect a hazardous asteroid from impacting the Earth.
A step forward in planetary defense is establishment of a high-level Mission Planning and Operations Group, a body that was strongly advocated during a three-day meeting of experts held October 27-29 at the European Space Agency’s European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany.
The Mission Planning and Operations Group (MPOG) workshop was organized by Secure World Foundation, the Association of Space Explorers, and the European Space Agency.
“The workshop was an important and critical milestone in shaping both international attention and solutions to deal with a harmful asteroid that has Earth’s address as its delivery point,” said Dr. Ray Williamson, Executive Director of Secure World Foundation.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of the workshop and will be supporting follow-on initiatives that further spur needed scientific, technical and policy discussion to establish an international framework for planetary defense,” Williamson said.
The workshop brought together for the first time space agencies to discuss the future deflection of a hazardous asteroid, said former shuttle astronaut, Tom Jones, Chair of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Committee on Near-Earth Objects.
“Representatives from NASA and the European Space Agency, facilitated by Secure World Foundation and the Association of Space Explorers, talked substantively about how their programs could be coordinated to gather important planetary defense knowledge about asteroids, what asteroid research is needed to facilitate deflection planning, how space agencies should demonstrate asteroid deflection technologies, and when future planning meetings should take place,” Jones said.
Leading international authorities on planetary defense, space situational awareness, as well as orbital debris, along with astronauts and space scientists, took part in the workshop. It was the latest in a series of meetings organized to report to the United Nations Action Team-14, a group within the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee established in 2001 for the purposes of addressing the asteroid impact threat.
“The workshop series is focusing on plans and recommendations for global coordination and response in the event that an asteroid or other object is found to pose an impact threat to Earth,” explained workshop coordinator, Detlef Koschny from the European Space Agency.
Global warning and technical analysis
Taking a leading role in the workshop was Sergio Camacho, space science researcher, former Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and now Secretary General of the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (CRECTEALC).
Camacho assisted in defining future planning tasks and studies for the MPOG that will later be merged with findings of other experts to create a final report to the UN committee. Such a report will recommend how to react to an impact threat from a Near Earth Object, or NEO.
Earlier this year, a workshop organized by Secure World Foundation in coordination with the Association of Space Explorers and CRECTEALC was hosted by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City.
Participants in that interdisciplinary workshop considered the challenges and problems that a future Information Analysis and Warning Network (IAWN) would face in providing global warning and technical analysis regarding an Earth-threatening asteroid.
Big first step
The recently held workshop in Darmstadt, Germany “was a big first step on the operations side, bringing together countries that have deep space experience and can actually execute an asteroid deflection,” said ASE’s Jones.
“NASA and the European Space Agency both expressed high interest in working together to solve the technical problems ahead, and I hope they will be joined by the many other space agencies with their additional talents and resources,” Jones said.
ASE’s international community of space fliers, Jones added, “applauds the agencies’ participation in MPOG, and looks forward to assisting in getting the message out that global cooperation can take on this very preventable natural hazard.”
For further information on the Mission Planning and Operations Group (MPOG) workshop, contact:
Dr. Ray Williamson, Executive Director
Secure World Foundation
Phone: +1 303-554-1560
Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor
Secure World Foundation
Phone: +1 514 466 2756
Leonard David, Research Associate
Secure World Foundation
Phone: +1 303-494-7677
About Secure World Foundation
Secure World Foundation (SWF) is headquartered in Superior, Colorado, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium.
SWF is a private operating foundation dedicated to the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of Earth and all its peoples.
SWF engages with academics, policy makers, scientists and advocates in the space and international affairs communities to support steps that strengthen global space sustainability. It promotes the development of cooperative and effective use of space for the protection of Earth’s environment and human security.
The Foundation acts as a research body, convener and facilitator to advocate for key space security and other space related topics and to examine their influence on governance and international development.
Asteroids and Global Warming
Published: November 4, 2010
To the Editor:
Russell Schweickart suggests that we need a planetary defense system against asteroids to prevent the kind of catastrophe that killed off the dinosaurs and 75 percent of all species on earth (“Humans to Asteroids: Watch Out!,” Op-Ed, Oct. 26.)
I would suggest that we already have that kind of catastrophe on our hands, and it is called global warming.
Instead of staring off into space, America should rapidly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and our emissions of global warming pollution. By taking meaningful action to reduce pollution now, at all levels of government, “we can save millions of people, or even our entire species.”
Santa Barbara, Calif., Oct. 26, 2010
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2010
The Folly of Dueling Disasters
Threats to our existence are everywhere. Sure, that's been the case for as we've existed, but unlike our ancestors we're unable to live in blissful ignorance. We know how hostile the universe is, no matter how much we try to put it out of our minds and go on with our lives. But those threats still lurk. We do what we can to address them, when we can - and some more exotic threats, like that of a gamma-ray burst, are so beyond our control that there's no point concerning ourselves with them.
We know that there are many, many swords hanging over the throne of Damocles. It's when people start arguing over which existential threat is more deserving of attention that things start to get on my nerves.
On Thursday the New York Times printed a letter entitled "Asteroids and Global Warming," a response to an earlier op-ed by Apollo 9 astronaut Russell Schweickart advocating the investment of more attention and resources into a planetary defense campaign. Defense against impact events, that is. Considering that they tend to punch hard, hard enough to bruise Jupiter, I've always known it's a worthwhile consideration. The dinosaurs probably would have as well, had they been aware of their situation.
Not so our letter writer, Travis Madsen out of Santa Barbara. He seems to take umbrage at Schweickart's proposal while global warming threatens.
Anyone who's read this weblog for long enough will know that while I haven't been talking about the environment as much recently, I am not a climate change skeptic. Indeed, it's one of the big elephants in the room that will likely shape near-future culture to significant degrees, contributing to the whole "we have no idea what the future will look like" issue I kicked around a while back. I agree that we need to do what we can, while we can, to mitigate our effects on the climate - a combination of inertia, foot-dragging, and the crop of skeptics and deniers recently sewn in Washington all lead me to the conclusion that we're not going to get our act in gear until it's way too late - but the wonderful thing about a civilization is this: it can do more than one thing at the same time.
Choosing between planetary defense and climate change mitigation is not an either/or proposition - and neither is it beyond our reach, despite language that seems rather belitteling to me. We're not just "staring off into space," we're exploring vital ways to protect the planet. It won't matter if we've sworn off fossil fuels and made the whole world green if a six-kilometer bolide wants to say hello. We cannot pretend that Earth exists apart from the rest of the universe. There's nothing out there for us to hide behind.
What's more is that, to be honest, I'm damn glad that the existential threat we're dealing with is climate change. It's probably the most tolerable of the whole bunch, in that even now, we are capable of dealing with it, and for one very simple reason: it moves slowly. Sure, humanity is transforming Earth in an eyeblink of geological time, but our advantage is that we're able to adapt far faster than purely natural systems. Even as we change the environment, we can rearrange it. There's an opportunity there to salvage the situation, to pass through the eye of the needle and emerge stronger on the other side.
Not so for disasters like impact events. In all the history of Earth, the capacity to intervene in the celestial clockwork has existed for well less than half a century. Before that, all anyone could do would be to watch as the doom in the sky grew brighter, drew closer. Such disasters are immediately transformative: there's no mitigating an impact event once the crater's been dug.
Besides that, honestly, it's going to be easier to establish a true planetary defense network than it would be to kick the oil and pollution habit. Why? Well, because armageddons aren't good for the bottom line, and a program to keep asteroids from hitting Earth does not upset any huge corporation's applecart.
Mr. Madsen ends by suggesting that we take "meaningful action to reduce pollution now" and save the world. Sure, I'm all for that - but what action? Asteroid deflection would insulate Earth from one of the many dangers that confront it. We can't solve all our problems with a wave of the wand - but that's no reason we shouldn't investigate solutions when they come.
With all the rumblings about 'Disclosure' going on all around, I can't help but wonder why those who are interested in this topic seem to be missing the biggest cover-up of all: cometary/asteroid disruptors/destroyers of history.
Destroying history means, of course, destroying large segments of the human population who pass history on to their offspring. When you find a blank spot in history, a discontinuity, you can pretty well figure out that something really awful must have happened.
I've recently been wading through the complete works of Anatoly Fomenko. Those of you who have read my book The Secret History of the World know that I referred to him and his theories, but this was based on the available articles about it in English at the time. I've now been gifted with volumes 1 through 4 of his 7 volume work, along with the images from the final three volumes which are still being translated. It's a real revelation.
Now, for those of you who are familiar with this work, let me assure you that I am not reading uncritically. What I do find is that Fomenko's deconstruction is masterful. His method and results that prove that our history has been falsified are, in my opinion, incontrovertible. The numbers simply do not lie. What I am not very impressed by are some of his interpretations of what he does accept as data and his reconstruction is not satisfactory at all. He seems to be entirely unaware of why history must have needed to be re-written: repeated cometary destruction of Europe and the Mediterranean regions over the past 2000 years or more. That general ignorance is widespread and it has a powerful bearing on the 'Disclosure' issue, I think.
Some of the recent 'Disclosure' trends seem to include information from 'government insiders' who have told their stories, or whispered hints of amazing technology just waiting for all of us when this 'inevitable' event happens. Sorry, but I think its all wishful thinking. Why? Because what is interesting to me is the fact that, with all the tracking of government documents and conspiracies and so on, it seems that no one has mentioned to the purveyors of 'Disclosure' just how interested the government actually is in cometary impacts.
On 4 November 1996, Edward Teller wrote to then British Prime Minister, John Major:
Every few human lifetimes, there is a bombardment event like that which occurred in Siberia in 1908, wiping out most life over an area of about 10,000 square miles... Quantitatively, the time-averaged loss-of-life is comparable to that due to large floods, earthquakes and aeroplane crashes... The advent during the last half-century of reasonably large-scale rocket propulsion has given us the technological means necessary to avert such impacts.Teller, apparently, believed that the greatest threat to humankind is not nuclear war, but asteroid or comet impact.
Some groups within the military believe the problem to be very serious indeed. A document on the subject of impact threat - now cleared for public release but formerly classified - was prepared by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1996. (Planetary Defense: Catastrophic Health Insurance for Planet Earth, 1996)
Due to a lack of awareness and emphasis, the world is not socially, economically, or politically prepared to deal with the vulnerability of impacts and their potential consequences. Further, in terms of existing capabilities, there is currently a lack of adequate means of detection, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C41), and mitigation...Dr. Jasper Wall, director of Britain's Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge noted that the Tunguska blast could have had far more serious consequences, would have changed history, if it had occurred at a different time.
In terms of courses of action in the event of a likely impact of an ECO, [earth crossing object], other than a nuclear option, no defensive capability exists today. However, new technologies may yield safer and more cost-effective solutions by 2025. These authors contend that the stakes are simply too high not to pursue direct and viable solutions to the ECO problem. Indeed, the survival of humanity is at stake.
Had Earth moved for another three hours or so before the impact occurred, the target would not have been a barely populated corner of Siberia, but Moscow itself. Ten million people would have died. [interview conducted by Austen Atkinson, 1998]Tunguska sized events occur every 30 to 100 years and smaller incidents occur more frequently. Just such an event occurred in Brazil in 1931. They seem to be increasing, so any day there could be another Tunguska anywhere on the planet... or multiple Tunguska-size events.
The technology needed to detect and deflect these 'small' high-speed objects simply does not exist.
Something like 250 atomic-bomb-sized detonations due to comets and asteroids have been registered by the USA's nuclear-detection system and spy satellites over the course of a single decade up through 1999. These explosions were all at relatively high altitudes, but came with a frequency of at least 2 per month. The recent closing of this data to scientists and the public suggests that there is something to be hidden.
There is a 1-in-24,000 chance that you will be killed by a comet or asteroid impact during a 70 year lifespan. The chances of you getting CJD (mad-cow disease) is 1-in 15 million during the same lifespan. Despite the fact that you are 625 times more likely to die from a comet or asteroid impact and are extremely unlikely to die from CJD, the CJD risk has been highly propagandized, British beef was banned from tables, and everyone totally ignored the far more pressing problem of possible imminent death from space rocks. The MOD has taken no action while the Ministry of Agriculture certainly did.
Why such a strange state of schizophrenia?
Perception. The people perceive that the government can do something about a disease, but can do nothing about space rocks.
If we want to gather material and samples of rocks from space, asteroids and comets, and bring it back to Earth, we must understand that we will need the best technology to do just that. We need an effective, easy, and simple devices and equipment to help the robot and manned missions to these asteroids. Did you know, NASA is planning a manned mission to an asteroid in the near future?
This is an excellent opportunity for humanity to learn more about asteroids and space rock, like anything it can help us save ourselves from catastrophe in the future. Remember that suggested that a large comet or asteroid giant responsible for the organization of the dinosaurs. Let us not forget that, as people become better adapted to create a planetary defense system to prevent disasters from taking us extinct as well.
Was recently an interesting article online at Phys [dot] org right; "balloon filled with ground coffee makes Ideal Robotic grippers, published October 25, 2010 Anne Ju – and I would like you to check out this article from the attached video, so as an ideal robotic system for autonomous robot mission to an asteroid, or even NASA's manned mission to assist in collecting samples from the asteroid's surface.
As our Think Tank, which works online has been studying these things, we try to solve all the logistics necessary to achieve this goal. This latest device is the best way to use simple technology to complex problems than we've seen in a long time. Kudos indeed to the entire team of research which came up with this amazing innovation, and yes, we all need to think here, as humanity goes boldly to the space rock with us.
You may have heard that on average, the Earth gets struck by a huge asteroid, which raises the event is so great that most species are dying out, but we should not worry about it because it only happens every 65 million years. And while that may be true from a statistical point of view, that the statistics are not worth very much, because in reality it could happen tomorrow. In other words, just because it's rare does not mean the human race is safe from extinction if one of these giant asteroid hits the planet.
Not so long ago, someone contacted our nerve center, and they told me that the frequency of a giant asteroid impact by sheer accident. In other words, that he received that you could not predict them by using the theory that they only once, and 65 million years. You see, you could be one hit today, and another hit for two years from now, and one of 10.000 years and then maybe you would not have one hit over 150 million years. This is what he meant by random.
Nevertheless, I understand the random, to be unpredictable. And I do not believe that asteroid strikes on Earth are unpredictable. In fact, with all the research that NASA does, and the use of supercomputers, and our ability to detect these large asteroid – zooming around our solar system. I believe that predictable, when one of them will cross our path, and have a great chance to hit us.
If something is predictable it is no coincidence, in my opinion, and I was arguing with this gentleman, but he will not waver. Now there are about 40 asteroids that NASA considers the understanding that we could get to them, to explore them now, that is to send a probe or a manned mission to one or more of them. And we know, and more than 3000 asteroids that cross Earth orbit trajectories. And we know a large number of NEOs (Near Earth Objects), ASP (NEAs), AEC (Earth-Crossing asteroids) and comets.
If we can predict which of these objects will hit us, and when they are likely to hit us, most likely, it is not random events. If we take from the random equation, then we are well on our way to protect the Earth from large asteroid. That is, if we know which ones are dangerous, then you can catch them, to distract, destroy, or divert them from the blows of our planet.
Next, my friend right on one point, we have to throw ridiculous that we're safe, because 65 million years is not up yet, because this number does not mean anything, and although it may make people feel safe, because Thurs
We're sure knows a lot more than we do about the near-Earth objects than we have ever in the past. In many respects, we find that they are much more dangerous than we ever thought of life on Earth and the biosphere of our planet. And what we learned is truly incredible, as we found the building blocks of life in the comet dust and debris from asteroids. It seems that some asteroids have come from other planets, comets disintegrated, and possibly debris outside our solar system.
In other words, not all objects near Earth asteroids, or created equal – they have a different composition, sequence, orbits, and origin. They are different sizes, shapes, and many spin at different speeds. No two comets the same trajectory if they are not binary comets, or binary asteroids. Today we have a much better idea about the perceived number of NEOs through more efficient use of telescopes. Our brain has recently discussed the need to increase funding for a better census of NEOs up to $ 100 million a year.
We need to catalog each of the NEOs in size, shape, consistency, trajectory, and largely open case on each of which we can find. We have computers to do this, we have the technology, and it's just a matter of putting the right funding there, so we can get this done. We should not be blindsided by a rogue of a large asteroid or comet headed straight for Earth.
While we know that they went to us, or if we believe they are on the exact course of collision, we must have time to do something about it. In other words, we need more information to make sure that we have our own planetary defense system ready for action. There is really no difference philosophically behind with a missile defense system on the borders of our country, or a planetary defense system for Earth.
Whereas, the enemies may be different, this amounts to the same problem if you can not stop the onslaught. Destruction of your civilization, only in the case NEO is much worse, because we are all people, regardless of creed, nationality, race, culture, or all together. This means that we sink or swim together, and when it comes to major asteroid or comet strike. So, yes, to act accordingly – hence, our think tank that works on the network, says it's pretty serious.
Fortunately, NASA is taking the bull by the horns, and they have put into their budget a manned mission to an asteroid. Information planetary protection that currently lessons will help us when we have to take one of these space rocks. We will be sending more robot
We are sure learned a lot from the study of asteroids and comets. We've spent hundreds of millions of dollars in space flight, research, and the telescope time. We collected samples of dust from a comet, and we even sent a probe into a comet to lift debris, and then gathered them up, too.
Our tax dollars were at work with NASA and other astronomers to collect complete census of all near-Earth objects, or NEOs. Of particular concern to those that cross Earth's orbit, or periods, these asteroids, which can be very large and can potentially get our planet.
Today we have a pretty good estimate of the number there, and where even though we do not know exactly how many, or all of their seats. Some of these space probes have found what we believe the basic building blocks of life, which is an incredible discovery. In addition, getting up close and watch these asteroids and comets, we can check against our data from the telescope to make sure that we accurately monitor the difference between reality and reflection.
Japanese space probe, Hayabusa, managed to put on and meetings using the ion engine, which is absolutely impressive. All of the telescope data and other data, has been tested against actual, helps us in learning how to use the information gathered telescopes better, so we know what we are dealing with.
The next step, of course, to send a manned mission to the asteroid, and were there for two to three weeks to conduct research, collect samples, dig and drill, and really get intimate with the asteroid. Please consider all this.
VIDEO Discussions – Round Table: Lessons for NEO missions "Facilitator P. Abel, August 2010, NEO Exploration Conference in Washington, DC, the following video on the Internet, we recommend on this topic;
1 .- "Near-Earth Ateroid Rendezvous A. Chang.
2 .- "Deep Impact" Johnson.
3 .- Hayabusa G. Kuninaka.
4 .- "Don Quixote" – Marco Polo – Rosetta M. Coradini.
5 .- The Roundtable Q and