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Moscow (Voice of Russia) Oct 23, 2013
Russia's state-run space agency and the national academy of sciences have announced they are going to bang heads on a comprehensive project to ward off deadly asteroids that may threaten the earth.
Oleg Ostapenko, who leads the federal space agency, Roskosmos, told reporters the two institutions that spearhead the country's space science would look closer at the asteroid threat forecast for 2032.
An asteroid measuring 1,300m in diameter has recently been spotted by Crimean astronomers roaming the interstellar space. Its trajectory has been estimated to lie directly in the earth's path, with the rendezvous foretold in 19 years.
Russia's deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin has urged the space industry to think of a way to avert the impending doom, which he described as an "ultimate goal."
Mr. Ostapenko said his agency would work on an efficient way to tackle the asteroid scare, although he sounded more curious than concerned.
"It sounds quite interesting," he told journalists. "We could formulate an objective of this kind, involving asteroids. But first we need to draw up an assessment plan to make clear what we can do and how we can achieve it. We are already working with the Russian Academy of Sciences on this."
Oleg Ostapenko said the space agency had already fixed a date for discussions with the Academy's chief Vladimir Fortov, but added the industry was going to outline a plan on how to stave off dangerous asteroids before consulting scientists.
He said the task named by the deputy premier was a complex issue that required a combined effort from both the space authority and the Russian space troops.
"It can be solved only by exploiting the full capacity of our country," Ostapenko pointed out.
The minor planet dubbed 2013 TV135 was first spotted on a series of images snapped on October 12 by scientists at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Ukraine. It is currently cycling in an orbit that goes three-quarters of the way out to Jupiter, and then back again towards its closest approach near Earth's orbit.
The asteroid's existence has since been confirmed by two Russian observatories in Buryatia, as well as by their Italian, British and Spanish colleagues. It will come close to earth on August 26, 2032, although calculations put the asteroid's chances of hitting the planet at just 1 in 63,000.
Earlier, Dmitry Rogozin suggested creating a worldwide anti-asteroid shield under the UN aegis to eliminate any impact probabilities, although he stressed none of the space troops around the world wielded a technology that could protect the blue planet.
Source: Voice of Russia
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