There are about a million near-Earth asteroids that are large enough to substantially damage or destroy a major city, as evidenced by the explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013 of a meteor no bigger than a large truck, which injured more than 1,000 people.
With current space technology, scientists know how to deflect the majority of hazardous near-Earth objects. But prevention is only possible if nations work together on detection and deflection. Learn about the risks, and the steps that are needed to avoid these potential natural disasters, from a group of astronauts and cosmonauts who recently helped develop recommendations to the United Nations for defending Earth from asteroid impact in this discussion.
This program, which was streamed live on the web, took place at the American Museum of Natural History on October 25, 2013, the same week the United Nations General Assembly adopted measures creating an international decision-making mechanism for planetary asteroid defense. The event was co-hosted by the American Museum of Natural History and the Association of Space Explorers (ASE).
Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, hosted the discussion with participants Thomas Jones, former NASA astronaut, senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, and Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Near Earth Objects Committee member; Russell Schweickart, former NASA astronaut, ASE co-founder and Near Earth Objects Committee member, and co-founder and chairman emeritus of the B612 Foundation; Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, former Romanian astronaut, ASE co-founder and Near Earth Objects Committee member, and vice president of the European International Institute for Risk, Security, and Communication Management; Edward Lu, former NASA astronaut, ASE Near Earth Objects Committee member, and co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the B612 Foundation; and Soichi Noguchi, engineer and JAXA astronaut, and ASE Near Earth Objects Committee member.