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More United in Space Than on Earth: Countries Work Closely to Fend Off Asteroids

© Photo : PixabayAsteroids
Asteroids - Sputnik International
It may have spelt doom for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but it seems the biggest threat to humanity as a whole is still the risk of asteroids - or comets - hitting the planet and wiping us all out.

But no need to be alarmed because this is one of few border-free international collaborations of scientists and engineers that ensure the happenings of outer space are constantly monitored on behalf of us all. With observable tech being at its best, there are systems in place to do so and where any possibility of risk can be seen, an international action plan is executed in order to minimize the likelihood of a devastating hit that could result in human extinction.

A United Nations style coalition of all countries that overlooks any existence of political differences and works for the good of science progression and safety of planet Earth is firmly in place. Coalition groups such as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office led by NASA and the International Astronomical Union of wider countries, whose sole mission is to prepare the world for a range of unlikely, but devastating possibilities that exist outside of our earthly realms. 

"International cooperation in the name of science is a common occurrence because science overlooks any boundaries imposed by our politicians and works in the interest of humanity as a whole," David Baker, editor-in-chief of Spaceflight magazine, who has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace industry, told Sputnik.

Much of what we know about the risks of asteroid collisions is based on meteorite samples which have fallen to Earth. But unmanned space missions such as the recently launched Osiris-Rex are very important, with this being one of the first-ever robotic missions set to visit a large near-Earth asteroid called Bennu.

This is the dark and roundish asteroid circling the sun and just within the orbit of Mars.

Once there, astronauts will explore it and return with samples in the 2020s. This Asteroid Redirect Mission (or ARM as it is called) is part of NASA's plan to advance new technologies and the spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to planet Mars in the 2030s.

"There is a substantial concern by NASA and wider international space agencies and this is why missions such as Osiris Rex are so important and should have the attention of the world. In terms of technological advancements, we have enough to be able to implement redirection of significant asteroids from Earth's trajectory as opposed to any assumed attempts at trying to launch a rocket and blow up an asteroid," Mr. Baker told Sputnik.

"Unlike science fiction films, in reality by attempting to obliterate an asteroid would case all of the exploding debris to spread and potentially take out whole cities on planet Earth from the meteorite debris," he added.

Capability of technology is said to enable space agencies from being able to see any potentially hazardous asteroids 15 years ahead of time and this is where strong unity amongst space agencies that exist beyond any deemed political sensitivities is an important factor. 

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David Baker, who has experience of working on a number of international exploration missions throughout his career, spoke about the non-political aspects of science missions:

"Beneath the posturing of political divisions, you try telling an astronaut or scientist not to work with a particular country due to political differences and it will not be well received!" he explained.

Baker described an unsaid kinship and unity where scientists from Russia, Europe, USA, Japan, India and others, are all regularly communicating new ideas, sharing information and working together on tech development, manufacturing and much more.

"There is no stronger demand for world peace than amongst the industry professionals of space exploration and travel who look at the world way beyond what we see and experience on Earth daily. There is a desire to help everyone connect with humanity now more than ever, because beyond anything else, it's the entire human race that we are looking out for!" Mr. Baker said.

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