The news of an asteroid striking the Earth by the year 2032 broke on October 20, 2013.
In response to this, the United Nations and a group of astronauts, the Association of Space Explorers, plan a global resistance against the asteroid coming in 2032.
Through a press conference held on Oct 25, 2013, which was co-hosted by the American Museum of Natural History and the Association of Space Explorers, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart expounded on their plan of action against the impending asteroid strike.
Mr Schweickart emphasised that the best way to plan resistance against the looming asteroid is to detect it 10 to 15 years in advance. From there, officials should manipulate its orbit carefully, safely aiming for the asteroid to let pass the earth.
The press conference called for the national governments to participate in a global resistance against the asteroid by including asteroid management crisis with their disaster plans, budgets and policies.
The group strongly called for international lawmakers and organisations to create national agencies that will launch an international asteroid deflection demonstration within the next ten years.
The combined global efforts would help detect 1 million near-earth objects that pose threat to Earth.
"One-hundred years ago, if the Earth is hit by an asteroid ... that is bad luck. If 20 years from now we get hit again, that is not bad luck, that is stupidity. We can do better as a race," said Edward Lu, a former NASA astronaut.
Mr Schweickart and Mr Lu co-founded the B612 Foundation. The foundation is currently in the process of creating the Sentinel Space Telescope. This apparatus is a privately built infrared space telescope aimed to detect hostile asteroids years ahead of its possible strike on Earth. Through the apparatus, the group hope that governments and agencies can deploy advance resistance against the threat. The group said that possible resistance may involve having spacecraft fly toward the asteroid and have it blow apart.
The B612 Foundation hope that the telescope can be ready for use by 2018.
The group said that budget and technology for the resistance programme were ready but they called for the involvement of U.N. as part of the decision-making body in case a call for a nationally fair action is needed.
"The question is, which way do you move [the asteroid]? If something goes wrong in the middle of the deflection, you have now caused havoc in some other nation that was not at risk. And, therefore, this decision of what to do, how to do it and what systems to use have to be coordinated internationally. That's why we took this to the United Nations," Mr Schweickart emphasised during the press conference.
Meanwhile, the U.N. General Assembly had already approved actions based on the Association of Space Explorers' recommendations in 2009 titled "Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response".
- An International Asteroid Warning Network with scientists and space agencies working together to detect threatening asteroids and its danger to the earth
- Establish disaster relief organizations that will employ the most efficient response and management to an asteroid impact crisis like the one that hit the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February
- Set up a space mission planning advisory group to assess options, budgets and technologies needed to launch an effective preventive attack against asteroids threatening the Earth
- U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will be involved in all activities monitoring the threatening asteroid
The U.N. together with the Association of Space Explorers and all concerned bodies are taking the threat of the asteroid striking the earth in 2032 gravely.
Back in Feb 2013, Chelyabinsk, Russia was hit by an asteroid as big as a truck. The incident injured 1,000 people.
"It did make a difference in policymakers realizing that this is not just a science-fiction concept, or something that will happen in 100 or 500 years in the future. The fact that it happened right now, I think, enforced the reality," as reminded by Thomas Jones, a former NASA astronaut during the press conference.
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