More on Russian Federation Council's Special Session on Asteroids
March 16, 2013 • 10:21AM

Voice of Russia radio had more coverage of the special session which the Federation Council held in Moscow, March 12, on the problem of dangerous asteroids. Lada Korotun reports additional quotes from statements given there, for example from Roscosmos director Vladimir Popovkin: "The primary task is to develop and improve systems for tracking and detecting small celestial bodies and space garbage. After that it is necessary to create and to test means of influence on potentially dangerous celestial bodies and space objects. This implies planning of exploration missions to asteroids and comets in order to pinpoint their size and orbit trajectory, mastering maneuvers of space vehicles around these celestial bodies as well as methods of changing the trajectory of these bodies."

Korotun writes that "Russian experts propose to deploy an asteroid tracking system near the Moon. In particular they propose to launch three space observatories which will track the movement of large celestial bodies." She quotes the president of the Energia rocket corporation Vitaly Lapota: "There are Lagrangian points near the Moon where a space vehicle can remain stationary with respect to the Earth and the Moon. The location of space stations at these points at a distance of 400,000 km from Earth will ensure three-channel monitoring over asteroids. But our country won't be able to implement this project on its own—this requires international cooperation."

In the German-language version of the Korotun report, there is also a quote from Anatoly Zaitsev, director of the Russian non-profit organization "Center for Planetary Protection," saying that "after discovering a dangerous space body, a reconnaissance probe will be sent to it. This probe will be followed by an interception vehicle with kinetic or nuclear instruments. For this purpose, the Russian-Ukrainian space carrier ZENIT could be deployed: It can be made ready for start very quickly. This way, we can protect Earth against objects which have the size of several dozen to several hundred meters. This applies to 99.5% of all asteroids approaching Earth."