Russian Response To Possible Asteroid Impact
According to Russian Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin, commander of the Russian Space Force, Russia's national satellite cluster does not have a spacecraft able to prevent an asteroid strike. According to Popovkin, it would be inexpedient to spend the money needed to neutralize the threat.
The Russian government has been active in studying the problem for the last few years. Russia established the Space Shield Foundation involving scientists from the Snezhinsk nuclear center and the Makeev State Rocket Center. The 3-year-old Planetary Defense Center is made up of the defense-industry facilities, aerospace enterprises, as well as academic and sectoral research.
NASA's Spaceguard Survey, established in 1998, adopted the objective of locating 90% of the ojects larger than one kilometer in diameter before the end of 2008. One object in particular, Asteroid 99942 Apophis, will be naked-eye-visible on April 13, 2029. This object is approximately 1,000 feet in diameter; a collision in a populated area could kill millions of people. The B612 Foundation, chaired by former astronaut Russell Schweickart, requested that NASA respond formally to the problem, possibly by putting a transponder on the object to facilitate tracking. NASA's Mary Cleave provided the following response on October 12, 2005:
“The key conclusion to be taken from this analysis,” Cleave explained in the letter, “is that aggressive (i.e., more expensive) action can reasonably be delayed until after the 2013 observing opportunity. For Apophis, the 16 years available after 2013 are sufficient to recognize and respond to any hazard that still exists after that time.”
Cleave noted in the letter that while Apophis “is an object whose motion we will continue to monitor closely in the coming years, we conclude a space mission to this object based solely on any perceived collision hazard is not warranted at this time.”
(From Asteroid Apophis: Dealing with Earth's Future Troublemaker)
Ground-based tracking has a 99.8% chance of fully resolving the possibility of impact.
Deflection or destruction of an oncoming meteor is still in the realm of science fiction; however, a variety of initiatives and studies have been proposed. Read about the proposal to move asteroids and the MADMEN robot swarm. Science fiction fans recall what is (as far as I know) the first really detailed story about a strike; Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, is still a great read. The novel details the discovery of a new comet, and the events leading up to a very close approach to Earth. Very close.
Read more about Russian response to asteroid threats or the
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/23/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Elon Musk Tweets Versions Of Clarke's Operation Cleanup
'Fortunately, the old orbital forts were superbly equipped for this task.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.
Espresso Telescope Searches For Exoplanets
'These instruments were the wonderful ones our astronomers had perfected.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
'The glittering little rocket bolted to the black iron behind him.' - Jack Williamson, 1933.
Astronaut Gets Younger In Space
'So what we're looking for now is not an antibiotic - an anti-life drug - but an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug...' - James Blish, 1957.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'
Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'
SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.
RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!
MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...
MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!
UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.
Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!
Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.
Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'
Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing
Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.
Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories