Russia to Complete Asteroid Shield Plan by Yearend
MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will complete a plan for a program to protect itself against threats from space by the end of this year, Civil Defense and Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Tuesday.
That comes a month after a meteorite entered the Earth’s atmosphere undetected by existing space-monitoring systems and slammed into Russia’s Urals on February 15, accompanied by a massive sonic boom that blew out windows and damagedthousands of buildings around the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring over 1,500.
Meteorite Fragments Hit Russia
“The relevant program will be approved by the end of the year, and we will begin its step-by-step implementation,” Puchkov said, adding the program will include early warning systems and public emergency training courses.
Federal Space Agency Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin proposed a federal body be put in charge of developing a system for averting the asteroid threat, adding that so far the activities of various government agencies lack coordination and do not have a uniform operating basis.
The Russian Academy of Sciences should be made responsible for developing asteroid threat monitoring systems, Popovkin said, while Roscosmos should be in charge of monitoring space debris and the Foreign Ministry should be entrusted with matters of countering space threats at interstate level.
Roscosmos is currently trying to identify and classify potentially dangerous space objects, Popovkin told a session of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament.
Super-powerful telescopes should be used to detect dangerous space objects in good time, said Boris Shustov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Astronomy.