Tuesday, February 20, 2007

UN urged to take action against human killing asteroids

Asteroid Apophis has a one-in-45,000 chance of striking Earth on 13 April, 2036. If it does hit us, it will be a disaster of epic proportions. This week, a group of scientists will be presenting to the United Nations plans to develop a global response to such a threat from outer space. From Scotsman:
The Association of Space Explorers, which also includes Russian cosmonauts, is to host a series of workshops this year to refine plans to avoid a potential disaster, then make a formal proposal to the UN in 2009.

Mr Schweickart said that the UN had to adopt a global plan for assessing asteroid threats and deciding when action would need to be taken to avert a massive rock on a collision course with the Earth. He added that launching an asteroid deflection system early to deal with Apophis would not only increase the chances of success, but need far less energy to put the asteroid on a course which will take it far away from Earth.

Typical stony-type asteroids generally burn up on entry to the atmosphere, but asteroids with a large iron content could survive entry and smash into the ground with devastating effect.

But Paul Slovic, president of the US-based Decision Research, which studies judgment, decision-making and risk assessment, said Apophis could destroy a major city or even a entire region.
I say, it's about time! The world needs to take this seriously. This ain't a science fiction movie. The threat is there. We just have to take a look back at the history of our planet. Do we want to be wiped out by an asteroid like the dinosaurs? The clock is ticking.

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