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Space Earth Government News

UN Plans Asteroid Response Framework 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-bruce-willis dept.
chrb writes "The Association of Space Explorers, a non-profit group of people who have completed at least one Earth orbit in space, has presented a report to the United Nations titled Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response. The UN will now meet in February to discuss the issue and try to define a global political framework for dealing with asteroid-based threats to the Earth."
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UN Plans Asteroid Response Framework

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  • by trawg (308495) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:26PM (#25984509) Homepage

    However, I see this as "make the US pay for it". If a non-planet killing asteroid is targeting a nation which has not contributed to the fund/program, should we defend it? The security system on my house doesn't protect my neighbor's, (although my tax dollars which pay for the police, do.).

    Heh, I always just assumed the US government will do it under the guise of protecting the world, when really, it's just a space superiority weapons system

  • by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Wednesday December 03, 2008 @11:55PM (#25984713)

    A theoretical asteroid can be of many different sizes. An Apophis sized impactor does have global implications (though its not extinction class); however, something like what exploded above Tunguska in the early 20th century could potentially be devastating within a single country but not have an effect outside of a limited region, like a bad earthquake.

    And that is an interesting question, because unlike other natural disasters you know its coming and you can do something about it, but its expensive. So if you want to send a mitigation mission, do you make the other country pay for your expenses (assuming they dont have the technology to handle it themeselves), or is it an UN (or American, or Russian) act of charity even though in many ways its the problem of a single country. Or... do you just say hey, you better get people to move out of there, they should have a few years notice at least.

    And... what if you change the trajectory just enough to make it hit somewhere else, whats the liability like for something like that? Of course, this is all presuming you can get the track down to a specific impact zone that far into the future, which believe me (I've been doing a bit of work on estimating Apophis' trajectory), is not an easy thing to do.

  • Act of god... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Skiron (735617) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:37AM (#25984929) Homepage
    No insurance pays out for an 'act of god' (whatever that means), so why bother anyway? - we would lose it all with no pay-back.
  • Re:Offsite backups (Score:2, Interesting)

    by icebrain (944107) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @08:05AM (#25987301)

    For true disaster preparedness the only solution is a backup hot site. Mars would be nice.

    You may speak in jest, sir, but your statement holds a lot of truth. Establishing self-sustaining colonies throughout the solar system (and eventually the stars) should be the primary goal of any space program, not watching earthworms in zero-g. Get yourself established on other planets and moons, and that technology will feed directly back into asteroid defense and "green" efforts.

    Plus, it provides jobs and incentive for people to stay in school. It's a win all around. And as John Young said, the dinosaurs died because they didn't have a space program.

  • Re:I truly do not (Score:2, Interesting)

    by marleyboy (174610) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @10:31AM (#25988469) Homepage

    What exactly does 'perceive a threat to our species' and 'eliminate that threat' mean? In your context, it means asteroids. However, the greatest threat to our species isn't from space, it's the way we treat each other. So why the hell are we more worried about random rocks from space, when it's exactly that mentality that leads to all the wars and conflict on earth? Perhaps instead of trying to dominate, crush and otherwise cause further separation, we need to be figuring out how to live co-operatively on earth.

    True elimination is digging out the seeds that grow ideas of conflict. Otherwise the weedwhacker of war is just spreading more.

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