Russia's Earth Defense System Proposal Is Realistic
October 30, 2011 • 12:11PM

Vladimir Belaeff, president of the Global Society Institute, San Francisco, wrote as follows in the "Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel on Russia's Plan to Save the Earth," Oct. 28.

"There is a real danger from several asteroids in trajectories very near our planet that could materialize within the next 40 years. Given the scale of the danger and the unprecedented complexity of the required defense against such a collision, the Russian initiative in this matter looks very real, serious and not to be dismissed out of political animosity.

"Should an asteroid strike the Earth (and such events have happened repeatedly in the past), humanity and its civilization could be extinguished, like the dinosaurs were 65 million years ago. The fact that filmmakers used the asteroid danger to Earth as a subject for motion pictures does not make this threat less substantial.

"So the Russian proposal is realistic.

"Of course, given that the United States relies substantially on Russian launch vehicles for its own space programs, one may wonder what the American contribution to a project to deflect or destroy an Earth-bound asteroid would be—such an endeavor would depend very heavily on powerful and reliable long-range rockets...."