The Russian daily Izvestiya reported Feb. 21 that Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the defense industry, space, and nuclear power, has written to Prime Minister Medvedev proposing that Russia join with other countries, especially the United States, in behalf of the Strategic Defense of Earth (SDE). It was Rogozin who first publicly proposed the SDE in 2011. The SDE is an updated version of Lyndon LaRouche's SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) proposal of the late 1970's, publicly adopted by President Reagan on March 23, 1983, almost exactly thirty years ago.
"[In the letter of] Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to head of the government Dmitry Medvedev, he proposed to establish an international system of anti-asteroid security for the planet," Izvestiya wrote.
"According to Rogozin, two asteroids are of particular danger to Earth. Apophis (aka 2004MK4) in 2029 may come closer to our planet than 35 thousand km, and how it will approach the Earth in 2036, is still unknown. Asteroid 2011AS5, diameter 140 m, in 2040 will approach Earth at a distance of two thousand miles. To be protected from cosmic catastrophes, the Deputy Prime Minister proposes to use the resources of the Military-Industrial Commission under the Government to work out proposals for the creation of an international anti-asteroid system.
"The asteroid that fell in Chelyabinsk February 15 of this year, we could not detect in advance by the existing Roscosmos means. 'Finding space objects of this class is not being done by the military space surveillance systems of Russia and the U.S.A.,' Rogozin said in a letter to the Prime Minister. The Roscosmos system for detection of hazardous celestial objects can track space debris in the orbits of satellites, in the range of 200 to 5 thousand km from Earth.
"The Deputy Prime Minister said that in the framework of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the UN has often considered the proposals of Russian specialists on setting up an International Aerospace System for Global Monitoring. He recalled that in 2011 he had already reported to Medvedev on the appropriateness of Russia's making an initiative to create a 'Strategic Defense of the Earth.'
"The scale of the problem will require a concentration of global resources. It can only be solved by combining the scientific and technical potential of Russia, the U.S. and other leading countries. Creating such a system, according to Rogozin, would simultaneously find a way out of the confrontation between Russia and the U.S. in the field of missile defense. 'The deployment of broad international cooperation on the basis of such a large-scale program would help build confidence between the two countries and discourage confrontational tendencies,' says Rogozin...."
Then, on Feb. 22, Russia's government-owned Itar-Tass news agency reported remarks of Prime Minister Medvedev published in Brazil's O Globo that day under the headline, "Chelyabinsk meteorite is lesson for mankind — Medvedev."
"The meteorite that fell near Chelyabinsk is a lesson to all mankind. It is necessary to look together for ways to withstand the forces of nature, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in his interview published in the Brazilian newspaper O Globo on Friday.
"'Human civilization is self-assured. We believe that we make wonderful machines, create beautiful buildings, produce weapons. On the whole, human civilization is developing. And at the same time, it turns out that we are quite vulnerable. And fantastic stories often offered by Hollywood blockbusters are not just fantasy. We really live in space, and various unexpected things can come from space,' the premier said.
"'It is a lesson,' he believes. 'We are very glad that nobody died, though the explosion of the fireball was of immense power. It took place at some altitude, but fragments flew to us. It could have ended much worse. So, it is such a lesson for mankind, and one more reminder that only together we can cope with some threats to mankind. Most likely, there is no effective protection at present, but we must think this over. What can we present against the forces of nature? It will take money and our joint work'," the Russian prime minister noted.