by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Sep 04, 2014
A project to protect people and economic facilities from the impact of space objects could be launched in Russia this year, Russian Emergencies Ministry has announced.
"The Emergencies Ministry, working jointly with the Academy of Sciences, has been instructed to produce a design for a pilot project for the protection of people and social facilities from the impact of space objects," reads a report by the ministry.
The issue received additional attention in Russia and worldwide after a meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia in February 2013. The shock wave from that explosion shattered glass in over 7,000 buildings, injuring over 1,600 people. Economic damage was assessed at over 1.2 billion rubles (over $30 million).
Vladislav Bolov, Head of the Emergencies Ministry's Natural Disaster Center, told RIA Novosti, that the impact could be much more destructive if the meteor had hit the city directly.
Shustov said the system would comprise both ground and space elements. However, Russia has no federal targeted program that provides for creating this system.
The budget of the US asteroid impact alert system was tripled to $60 million after the Chelyabinsk meteor explosion.
The meteor exploded approximately 32.5 seconds later, generating a powerful shock wave. NASA estimated its total kinetic energy before atmospheric impact at about 440 kilotons of TNT.
The Chelyabinsk meteor was the largest celestial body, fallen to Earth since the Tunguska disaster in 1908. On average, such large impacts are registered approximately once every 100 years.
Global Disaster Risks
The largest mark in Russia is the Popigai crater in the north of the Siberian Platform. The internal diameter of the crater is 75 kilometers and the exterior diameter is 100 kilometers. The impact is dated to about 36 million years ago.
Smaller NEOs are also dangerous, because the shock and thermal waves of their explosion near populated areas can result in major destruction, comparable to the effects of a nuclear blast. It was a piece of good fortune that the Tunguska meteor hit a sparsely populated area in 1908 and hence did not lead to disastrous consequences.
Source: RIA Novosti
Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Astronomy
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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