Friday, December 16, 2011

Planetary Security

I obsess about manned space travel, going to other worlds in the solar system for fun and profit, but one thing is really short-sighted; why aren't we doing more about falling rocks? One small comet or asteroid could take out a city, wreck a country or a continent, and a large enough bit of celestial bad news could end us as a civilization or a species.

Proof of large impacts is available nearly every night, when we look up at the moon. The round shapes of certain seas and bays is proof on the globe which we all live, work and play on, that such things can happen, have happened, and certainly will happen again.

We shouldn't send people into space just because a few of us would sell our souls for the privilege. No, we should be sending manned crews, right now, to the Near Earth Asteroids, to know our enemy, to figure out how to move space rock, or gravel, or nasty ices of methane, ammonia and water. These are things we need to do because it is prudent to prepare for the worst, because we are capable of doing something about the threat, and because we really need to stop thinking that one small world, the third rock from the sun, is all there is to the universe. We need to go outside of ourselves again, like we did during the Apollo missions, when we went to another world, however briefly.

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