Washington, Oct 28: The Association of Space Explorers (ASE), a professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts, have issued a challenge to the global community to take the next step to confront the threat from dangerous asteroids.
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.
Astronaut Tom Jones said that 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.
Jones asserted that search efforts to date have discovered scarcely 1 percent 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.
He said that this leaves 99 percent of the objects big enough to level a major metropolitan area-undiscovered.
Jones and the ASE Committee said that asteroids pose a significant, long-term threat to our civilization.
They said that the society now possesses the knowledge, resources and technical acumen necessary to prevent them. (ANI)