This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

19 March 2008

Wall Street Journal Article on Rusty's International NEO Work

Article on Rusty Schweickart and asteroids...selections from the article...

The hard part of asteroids, says Mr. Schweickart, and the part he is spending nearly all of his time on right now, involves finding a way to reach a global agreement on how the planet would respond should an asteroid head our way.

This is where the astronaut starts to think like a diplomat. Indeed, several of the messages in his inbox last week involved a meeting he's hoping to have in the fall with the secretary-general of the United Nations.

Mr. Schweickart says the only fair way to proceed is to have a decision-making formula drawn up well in advance, thus unaffected by the political heat of an actual crisis.

Another reason to involve the U.N., says Mr. Schweickart, is to overcome global suspicion that a unilateral American antiasteroid effort would be a ruse to militarize space. Mr. Schweickart says he also is concerned about the issue. Many in Washington, he says, seem almost exclusively interested in the nuclear option.

Mr. Schweickart has been working on NEOs since 2001, and says he will spend another year on the project before turning the reins over to someone else. In the meantime, he's talking to everyone he can.

"Let's face it," he says, "being an ex-astronaut opens a lot of doors for you."

"Keeping the Earth Asteroid-Free Takes Science, Soft Touch"
Lee Gomes
Wall Street Journal
19 March 2008
Page B1

Link: Article

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