Andrey Zlobin, candidate of technical sciences
It became known that the European Space Agency (ESA) received 129 million euros to protect the Earth from asteroids. Foreign missions to asteroids and comets are frequent, and this already looks like a panic...
For starters, let's just give the facts. Today the public only understands facts expressed in monetary units. Therefore, here are the bare numbers. The Americans and NASA spent about $ 300 million on shelling comet Tempel 1 and the Deep Impact space mission. The same NASA spent about 200 million dollars on intercepting particles of comet Wild 2, carrying out the Stardust mission. The Rosetta mission and the landing of Phila's lander on the surface of the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet cost NASA and the European Space Agency $ 1.3 billion.
The Japanese aerospace research agency JAXA has carried out two Hayabusa missions to collect soil from the asteroids Itokawa and Ryugu. It cost the Japanese more than one and a half hundred million dollars. NASA is currently preparing a new DART mission for the double asteroid Didymos and Dimorphos. Part of this project is the HERA spacecraft for which the European Space Agency has just allocated nearly 130 million euros. The American probe will crash into the smaller of the asteroids and try to dislodge it from its impact path with Earth.
Agree that in just 15 years, such a number of missions to comets and asteroids looks more like a panic than a simple interest in space. And huge money is allocated for this - already billions of dollars. You can't argue with that. Are there really serious reasons for concern? Alas, anxious moods can occur, since hundreds of thousands of asteroids have been discovered in the solar system.
Every year hundreds of asteroids miraculously "miss" by the Earth, some of which can lead to the death of the entire human civilization. Smart people have finally understood that it is impossible to wait any longer and delay is like death. That is why space flights to small bodies of the solar system have become frequent, and special attention is paid to the tasks of rendezvous and interception. Space interceptors of comets and asteroids are no longer fiction, but specific strategies, technologies, constructions, and flying vehicles.
The number of asteroids in the solar system has long exceeded all conceivable estimates.
In fact, already online, the whole world is observing that a number of countries have learned not only to "hit a bullet with a bullet" from a distance of many millions of kilometers, but also to carefully "put under a microscope" an asteroid or comet in order to study their substance. The advances in American, European and Japanese science are truly mind-boggling and are even beginning to inspire some concern.
Are such dangerous technologies well guarded? Are not examples of international terrorism known to everyone? And is there a risk that someone aggressive will think to push the asteroid not from the Earth, but vice versa - to the Earth? Especially considering the rapid development of private astronautics. After all, even the most powerful thermonuclear bombs will seem harmless Christmas firecrackers if an asteroid of a kilometer scale collides with the Earth...
Some people still naively believe that the monstrous explosion of 1908 in the area of the Podkamennaya Tunguska River was caused by a cosmic body tens of meters in size. Nonsense. The Siberian taiga on an area of two thousand square kilometers was knocked down and burned by the impact of a cometary nucleus the size of the Ostankino TV tower! Moreover, during the fall, the Tunguska comet fell apart into four parts, which aggravated the consequences of the cosmic catastrophe.
As you can see, the world is taking the most serious measures to protect against asteroids and comets. What's in Russia? The situation was recently commented on by the General Director of the Center for Planetary Defense Anatoly Zaitsev: "We have been fighting for several decades to create a planetary defense system in order to have launch vehicles with interceptors in case a large asteroid starts approaching Earth, but so far we are not heard"...
That is, in Russia... "things are still there". This is despite the fact that it was in Russia that the most dangerous collisions with large cosmic bodies - Tunguska, Sikhote-Alin, Chelyabinsk took place in a century. This is despite the fact that we are talking about a threat that has arisen suddenly, will no longer leave time for a reaction. The owners of huge money fortunes should know the bitter truth - they will instantly become beggars as soon as the world learns about the mortal threat from outer space. All their money will immediately turn into useless candy wrappers. So, isn't it better to take care of the safety of the planet in time than to howl afterwards and tear your hair out, cursing your own stinginess?
Asteroid protection is, among other things, high-tech, high technology, new scientific achievements, new materials, new technical solutions, patents, new intellectual property. The economic efficiency in this case will be the highest, since it is simply unthinkable to ward off the threat from outer space without competitive results and the same technological products. Actually, it is already possible to give examples demonstrating the specific impact of meteorite research.
So, 30 years ago, in the process of developing a mathematical model of the 1908 Tunguska bolide at CIAM, the author of these lines first made a prediction of superconductivity in meteorites. Recently, foreign experts actually discovered superconductivity in two meteorites and the Russian priority was confirmed. The technological promise that meteorite superconductivity opens up is truly breathtaking.
There is little time for reflection. Why? Yes, because for many millennia global cosmic catastrophes have not occurred on planet Earth. However, such catastrophes happened in ancient times, and after another period of calm, a deadly asteroid again fell on the Earth. The last lull came a long time ago, and the next space threat is probably not far off. There are no guarantees that, in addition to hundreds of thousands of discovered asteroids, thousands and thousands more have not been seen in the solar system.
Add here small interstellar bodies, for example, the recently discovered Oumuamua asteroid, Borisov's comet, and the picture will cease to be rosy at all. A killer asteroid can suddenly pop out like a devil out of a snuffbox. It is possible that the asteroid "doomsday clock" is counting down the last "minutes".
So what to choose: humbly await your fate or will he be concerned about the future and create a system of planetary protection? Of course, you should choose the latter. Moreover, the Center for Planetary Defense has long developed a draft of the Citadel International Defense System (SPZ), which has been tested in the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UN Committee on Space, at the Seminars on Planetary Threats of the World Federation of Scientists, in the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and in dozens international conferences. It's about financing. You can still make it...