The UN Is Planning An Asteroid Defense Program
The United Nations agreed plans to set up an 'International Asteroid Warning Group', a program it hopes will help protect the Earth from a potentially catastrophic collision event. The plan proposes that, should a potentially hazardous asteroid be detected, a spacecraft will be launched to collide with the space rock and steer it away from it's collision course with Earth.
In February of this year, a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, injuring 1000 people. This was an event that fortunately did not result in any deaths, however, should a similar impact occur many believe we will not be so fortunate to avoid human fatality. Chelyabinsk appears to have acted as a massive wake-up call to scientists and world leaders alike, with these UN plans the first step in an effective defense against hazardous impacts from space.
The plans were recommended to the UN's general assembly by members of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), who want to rectify the neglect given to this important matter of "errant space rocks". As ASE members pointed out, "No Government in the world today has explicitly assigned the responsibility for planetary protection to any of its agencies,".
While this program is a step in the right direction, it is but one small part of a truly effective prevention program, with the most important component being the detection of these "errant space rocks". As ASE member and former astronaut Ed Lu pointed out, "There are about 1 million asteroids large enough to destroy New York City or larger. Our challenge is to find these asteroids before they find us." Now there's a sentiment we should all be able to get on board with!
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