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  10/25: ASE panel "Defending Earth from Asteroids"

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Author Topic:   10/25: ASE panel "Defending Earth from Asteroids"
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27989
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-19-2013 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
American Museum of Natural History release
Defending Earth from Asteroids

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astronauts, Cosmonauts to Discuss Vital Next Steps for Asteroid Detection and Mitigation

There are about a million near-Earth asteroids that are large enough to substantially damage or destroy a major city, as evidenced by the explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia, this past February of a meteor no bigger than a large truck, which injured more than 1,000 people.

With current space technology, scientists know how to deflect the majority of hazardous near-Earth objects, but prevention is only possible if nations work together on detection and deflection. Learn about the risks and the steps that are needed to avoid these potential natural disasters from a group of astronauts and cosmonauts who have flown for three different space agencies — and who were instrumental in developing recommendations to the United Nations for defending Earth from asteroid impact.

Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the discussion, which comes the same week as the United Nations General Assembly adopts measures creating an international decision-making mechanism for planetary asteroid defense. The Museum and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) — the professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts — are cohosting this timely discussion.

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium

  • Thomas Jones, former NASA astronaut, senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, and ASE Near Earth Objects Committee member

  • Russell Schweickart, former NASA astronaut, ASE co-founder and Near Earth Objects Committee member, and co-founder and chairman emeritus of the B612 Foundation

  • Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, former Romanian astronaut, ASE co-founder and Near Earth Objects Committee member, and vice president of the European International Institute for Risk, Security, and Communication Management

  • Soichi Noguchi, engineer and JAXA astronaut, and ASE Near Earth Objects Committee member

  • Edward Lu, former NASA astronaut, ASE Near Earth Objects Committee member, and co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the B612 Foundation
Friday, October 25, program starts at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). This event will be live streamed at amnh.org/live.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27989
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-25-2013 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Association of Space Explorers release
Association of Space Explorers Calls for Global Cooperation to Confront Asteroid Threats

At a public event today at New York's American Museum of Natural History, the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), a professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts, issued a challenge to the global community to take the next vital steps to confront the threat from dangerous asteroids. The ASE Committee on Near-Earth Objects statement follows the United Nations General Assembly adoption of a suite of proposals to create an international decision-making mechanism for planetary asteroid defense.

Five notable astronauts from three nations joined Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Frederick P. Rose Planetarium, in a discussion of planetary defense from asteroids centering on the ASE statements.

Speakers included: veteran US NASA Astronaut Tom Jones, current chairman of the ASE NEO Committee, and senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition; veteran US Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, ASE founder and co-founder and chairman emeritus of B612 Foundation; Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, veteran Romanian Astronaut and vice president of the European International Institute for Risk, Security and Communication Management; Soichi Noguchi, engineer and current Astronaut of the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, and Dr. Edward Lu, veteran US NASA Astronaut, 7-month resident of the International Space Station (ISS) and co-founder and CEO of the B612 Foundation.

The event was live-streamed at amnh.org/live, and the ASE statement can be read in its entirety at the space-explorers.org and b612foundation.org websites.

"Asteroid impacts have dramatically altered the course of life on Earth and a rogue asteroid will certainly strike Earth, posing a global threat to human life and society," Astronaut Tom Jones stated in his opening remarks. "Search efforts to date have discovered scarcely 1% of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects (NEOs), and current telescopes were unable to warn us of the Feb. 2013 Chelyabinsk impact, which released 440 kilotons of explosive energy and injured more than 1,000 people. This leaves 99% of the objects big enough to level a major metropolitan area — undiscovered."

This week, the UN General Assembly approved concrete measures to help prevent asteroid disasters, as a result of discussions over 12 years by the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and its Action Team 14 (AT-14) on Near-Earth Objects, comprised of scientific and space agency delegates from interested states and non-governmental organizations.

In 2008, ASE, an official observer at the COPUOS, with support from the Secure World Foundation, submitted to the UN a report entitled: Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response. The report recommended creation of an asteroid detection and warning network, a group to plan deflection missions, and an international group to oversee any needed deflection campaigns. This week the UN approved an International Asteroid Warning Network to share information on hazardous asteroid detections and impact predictions; a Space Missions Planning Advisory group to undertake joint studies of NEO deflection mission options, mission costs, and needed technologies, and a role for the UN COPUOS to consider and authorize any necessary NEO deflection campaigns.

At today's October 25 event, the ASE challenged the global community to maintain this momentum with the following "next steps" for asteroid defense:

  1. Called for the UN delegates to brief their respective national policymakers on the asteroid hazard and the latest General Assembly actions taken to prevent a NEO impact.
  2. Called for national policy makers to address impact hazards in their disaster response plans and budgets.
  3. Called for national governments to explicitly assign lead responsibility for asteroid hazard response to their space or disaster response agency, creating clear lines of responsibility.
  4. To find the approximately one million NEOs capable of threatening Earth, called for national policymakers to commit the modest funds necessary to support the launch of a space-based search telescope by 2020.
  5. Anticipating these search results, called for policy makers to direct their national space agencies to launch within ten years an international deflection demonstration, to alter the path of a small near-Earth asteroid.
Jones and the ASE Committee concluded: "Asteroids pose a significant, long-term threat to our civilization. Our society now possesses the knowledge, resources and technical acumen necessary to prevent them. With this week's action by the UN General Assembly, our society has acknowledged the asteroid hazard and taken positive steps toward ensuring our species' survival. However, knowing what we must do is only a first step. To prevent a future disaster, we must actually take action – in space.

All times are CT (US)

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