“People’s lives are at stake”

Earlier this week the BBC reported that “the head of Russia’s federal space agency [Roscosmos] has said it will work to divert an asteroid which will make several passes near the Earth from 2029.” The Guardian, re-assuringly, added, “The head of the Russian space agency said today that it was considering a Hollywood-style mission to send a spacecraft to bump a large asteroid from a possible collision course with Earth.” The intended target, Apophis, “approximately the size of two-and-a-half football fields”, currently has a one-in-250,000 chance of hitting the Earth in 2036 – which has been reduced from the 1 in 5,500 risk calculated in 2005 – and will pass, harmlessly, no closer than 18,300 miles above Earth’s surface on Friday, April 13th, 2029. Personally, I think it’s a wonderful idea. After all, what could possibly go wrong… [Is the great god Ogdy coming to visit again? – Ed]. There does seem to have been a lot of too-near Earth objects around recently. But perhaps they could start with something smaller.. and further away…To be fair, Roscosmos have reportedly said they would invite Nasa, the European Space Agency and others to participate.

And the 1st International Planetary Defence Conference was held in April 2009.

Here’s a link to a Nasa report on Near-Earth Object (NEO) hazard mitigation strategies.