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We Can Save Ourselves From Earth-Killing Asteroids, but Someone Has to Pay

Newsweek Magazine’s excellent cover story focuses on the asteroid issue from many angles, including interviews with B612’s Ed Lu and Asteroid Day’s Science Advisor Rusty Schweickart.

Earlier this spring, as violence and chaos drove thousands of refugees onto rickety boats off Libya, with some drowning on the grueling voyage to Italy, scientists gathered on the outskirts of Rome to discuss another sort of catastrophe. Astronomers and physicists from some of the world’s top institutions grappled with a dire scenario: An asteroid possibly as large as 1,300 feet in diameter—big enough to cause epochal damage—was hurtling toward Earth, and the countries likely to be hit included some of the poorest and most unstable in the world. Policymakers bickered over whether to try to blow it up or move it, and nations nearly went to war over whether deflecting it would make the fiery rock more likely to land on them.

Relax. It was only a drill. Had it been a real emergency, you would have been instructed to kiss the world—or a large chunk of it—goodbye.

Read the entire article here.


Great podcast interview via Astronomy Magazine: Rusty Schweickart: From the Apollo program to the asteroid threat

The famous astronaut turned planetary defense advocate looks back at some of his greatest adventures in space and ahead to his quest to protect the planet from a future catastrophic impact.
In this hourlong interview with Editor David J. Eicher, Schweickart talks about growing up on a farm near Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst and how his upbringing inspired him to become a fighter pilot and eventually an astronaut. He relives his Apollo 9 days and the incredible experience he had with the mission’s spacewalk as he tested the new Apollo spacesuit [15:50] before turning his focus to his subsequent Skylab space station mission [32:00]. Schweickart then discusses his post-astronaut days [36:20] and what led him to become an advocate for planetary defense against the threat of asteroid impacts [44:25], concluding with his hope for the upcoming Asteroid Day on June 30 [1:00:00].


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