Libmonster ID: IN-1112

About 100 national and foreign specialists gathered in Krasnoyarsk in September 2011 to discuss the problem of protection of the Earth from different space objects. Galina Yakovleva, reporter of the Poisk newspaper, described the topics under consideration in more detail.

This Siberian city was not a random choice for the event. It is here that Earth satellites and rockets are produced, which means that, sooner or later, their units and parts (so-called space debris) turn out to be on our planet. "How can we use them?" was the central point of reports and speeches delivered by the scientists. The more so as the problem of disposal of the worked out space vehicles launched to near-earth space for the past fifty years of space exploration is becoming more and more acute. According to Boris Shustov, one of the sponsors of the said conference, Director of the RAS Institute of Astronomy, RAS Corresponding Member, "During the recent years we have already evidenced numerous clashes of space debris with 'live' mechanisms. A special program was developed to ensure safety of astronauts working at the International Space Station. Thus, we have to change its orbit or take other measures to prevent collisions."

At the same time, scientists in Krasnoyarsk, focused their attention on the serious problem of "overpopulation" of the geostationary orbit of our planet, where today "work" thousands of the already launched satellites from different countries. It is not accidental that Shustov pointed out that at the moment countries were granted only 0.1° per project, while in the past 5 degrees were a standard practice (the closest distance to the nearest satellite of the "neighbor"), which, no doubt, increases the risk of collision manifold. Special attention is paid to the satellites equipped with nuclear engines since, if destructed, can result in radioactive contamination of space.

Asteroid.

стр. 29

Asteroids and comets are another urgent problem in the center of attention of many experts present at the conference. Over 8,000 objects moving towards the Earth have been discovered, more than a thousand of them are potentially dangerous. The primary task of specialists is not only to discover asteroids, but also trace their movement. Their timely discovery (at least 30 days prior to their appearance in dangerous orbit) will enable people to take preventive measures.

According to Vladimir Busarev, senior scientific assistant, Department of the Moon and Planet Studies, State Institute of Astronomy named after P. Schternberg, "The change of the trajectory of potentially dangerous asteroids is an optimal alternative. Today we are able to launch a special vehicle--so-called 'pusher'--to the dangerous asteroid and push it away from orbit with jet streams of engines."

A project intended for such effect on the asteroid Apofis was put forward in Russia--in 2029 it should come closer to the Earth. Since its behavior and movement are unpredictable, a decision to set a radio beacon on it to trace its trajectory and change it, if necessary, was adopted.

G. Yakovleva, "The Pusher for Asteroid", Poisk newspaper, No. 38, 2011


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