Sophont
Sunday, April 25, 2004
 
Our goal is to significantly alter the orbit of an asteroid in a controlled manner by 2015
B612 FOUNDATION: "We are a group of professionals, primarily scientists and other technical people, who are involved in and concerned about the current lack of action to protect the Earth from the impact of near Earth asteroids (NEAs). While the probability of a highly destructive impact in the immediate future is slight, the consequence of such an occurrence is extreme, and mitigation efforts should begin now.

.....Over 670 of the anticipated 1000-1100 (asteroids) that exist have so far been detected, and happily, none of them is any threat to the planet within the next 100 years.

This cannot be said, of course, for the 35% still to be discovered, nor for the 100,000 or so smaller, but still dangerous NEAs larger than 100 meters. Only a very small percentage of these have been discovered to date, and those only incidental to the current survey for the large ones.

The reality of concern to us, among others, is that the discovery of a NEA headed toward an impact with Earth could be announced at any time by the Spaceguard program. If this were to happen the public would be extremely concerned and demand to know what is being done about it.

Unfortunately the answer is "nothing". This, it seems to us, is intolerable and could cause widespread alarm. For this reason the B612 Foundation, recognizing that national governments feel (to the extent that they have considered the matter) that they are not in a position to spend public money on mitigation, are taking the initiative now to begin this process with the use of private funds. We believe that there are adequate numbers of intelligent and concerned people to support the critical initial planning work that needs to be done to eventually reach an operational system to deflect incoming NEAs.

Our conviction is that there is nothing more powerful to convince the public that this audacious challenge can be met than to actually do it. Our goal is to physically deflect a representative asteroid as a demonstration that a longer term, more challenging operational system can become a reality.

Board of Directors; Geoff Baehr, Clark Chapman, Piet Hut, Ed Lu, and Rusty Schweickart"

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