NASA aerospace engineer says we need to do more to stop asteroids


This interview was conducted by Anna Maria Tremonti for CBC radio which is not affiliated with Asteroid Day. It features Asteroid Day supporter Brent Barbee.

On June 2, 2016, NASA confirmed the bright burst of light over Arizona skies to be an asteroid exploding — a mere 90 kilometers above the earth. This came just a few days after another asteroid event in Mexico, where sonic booms and bright flashes marked an asteroid’s entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

These recent close calls have brought attention to those scientific voices urging the world to pay more attention to asteroids, and the threat they pose.


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Protecting Earth from Asteroids – with Rusty Schweickart and Neil deGrasse Tyson

It has been said jokingly that the dinosaurs might still be around if they had a space program. Humanity has numerous space programs, from NASA to ESA to JAXA to ISRO and more, but are we doing enough to ensure that we would escape the fate of the dinosaurs if an asteroid the size of Apophis was heading straight for us? With limited detection efforts like B612, would we even know it was coming? Find out when Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, co-founder of the B612 foundation, devoted to protecting Earth from asteroids. Explore deflection strategies and why geopolitics may be a more critical factor in their deployment than physics. Find out which is worse: an impact in the ocean, on the land, or an airburst like Tunguska or Chelyabinsk. You’ll learn what an impact is projected to cost, and why an actual deflection mission is such a bargain. In studio, Neil and co-host Eugene Mirman break down risk in terms of asteroid size and makeup: rocky vs. metal vs. a loose collection of rubble. Discover the “Deflection Dilemma” and whether any nation could use an asteroid to attack an enemy. Finally, you’ll hear what astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz’ revolutionary VASAMIR engine, the Association of Space Explorers, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry have to do with the creation of the B612 Foundation in 2002 by Schweickart, astronaut Ed Lu and astrophysicist Piet Hut.

Eugene Mirman, Comedian

Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Lunar Module Pilot; Chairman of the Board, B612 Foundation

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” – Bob Dylan
Know Your Enemy” – Green Day
Tick Tick Boom” – The Hives
Starseed” – Our Lady Peace
Octahate” – Ryn Weaver (Cashmere Cat Remix)

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Inside NASA’s Planetary Defense Office

There are thousands of asteroids and comets that orbit the sun, traveling in the same cosmic neighborhood as the Earth. But what happens if one of these space rocks gets too close for comfort? NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson and Near Earth Object Observation Program Manager Kelly Fast map out what celestial objects the team is keeping an eye on, and ideas for deflecting and keeping asteroids at bay.

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