Averting Armageddon via asteroid
Commentary – Douglas MacKinnon
Make no mistake: We had no clue that 2009 DD45 was out there or that it was basically on a years-in-the-making possible collision course with our planet. None. While this close shave raises many questions, two immediate ones come to mind.
First, as our elected officials throw billions of dollars around like they were dimes, do they think they need to invest a bit more money into asteroid detection and collision prevention? Such desperately needed money would be directed at NASA’s Near Earth Object Program to first and foremost detect these potential planet-killers; later in the process, NASA would implement a plan that would entail flying (using robots or humans) to the asteroid to employ the most effective way to nudge it off its destructive course.
The second and maybe more pertinent question – for reasons including but not limited to an asteroid strike – is, does this latest cosmic scare dictate the need for the governments of the world to come together to formulate a plan to permanently get a representation of humankind off the planet and into the solar system as a way of preserving the species? Leaving aside destruction by an asteroid, human beings tend to be fairly fragile and don’t react well to nuclear weapons, terrorism, natural disasters or unforeseen plagues. Isn’t it time we covered our bets?
Maybe it’s time for our young president to expand upon the words of that young and visionary president and include the survival of the species as an additional reason to be in space. Shouldn’t a just-missed global catastrophe be taken seriously by the president, members of Congress and other world leaders?
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