Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has sent a letter to Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency, praising Russia’s decision to set up a mission to alter the path of an asteroid on a potential collision course with Earth.
The impetus for such a project stems from the current trajectory of Asteroid Apophis, scheduled to makes its first pass around Earth in the year 2029, close enough to travel beneath our communications satellites. However, the asteroid is reported to return in 2036 with a slight chance of actual impact.
“I want to congratulate you for taking the initiative on a very important challenge to mankind,” writes Rohrabacher. “I agree that a mission deflecting the Asteroid Apophis, which will come shockingly close to Earth in the coming decades, is critical for all people on the planet.
“Asteroids nearly destroyed life on Earth more than once and it would be foolish and irresponsible for America to cede our responsibility on this critical threat to all of humanity,” says Rohrabacher.
“You can count on me to try to make this a joint project with the United States.”
Apophis is said to measure 1,000 feet across and scientists calculate the energy from impact would be roughly 100,000 times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Currently, there are no contingency plans in place if such an event was in fact detected with certainty and no specific U.S. agency is tasked with taking the lead on such threats.
Washington DC (SPX)