Author Topic: Planetary Defense  (Read 9103 times)

Offline Rocket Science

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Planetary Defense
« on: 02/17/2013 12:34 PM »
The events of the past few days serve as a reminder to the general public that there are objects out there that will eventually hit Earth.  There are surveys and studies being on cataloguing them and how to intercept or possibly deflect them.  The question is who is going to pay for it? Iím of the opinion that since all nations are a potential target and the cost should not be undertaken by America alone. Just like the U.S. should not be the policemen of the world, I feel that the cost should be shared. Taking the lead should not always equate to bearing the brunt of the cost by America... Perhaps it should be funded out of the UN, since all the member states would benefit from it and funding could hopefully be increased.
I am well aware of the arguments that earthy events take more lives per year etc.; however since the humanity only now has the potential technology for early warning and taking action we would be remiss in just being complacent and playing the odds for a potential mass extinction event.
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #1 on: 02/17/2013 04:28 PM »
The UN is probably a dead end.  The problem is that the US would HAVE to play a role, and the UN does not have a good reputation in the US (or at least, in large swaths of the US Congress)

However, I would like to pose a question - should this alter how we view the next destination for humans?  I know more than a few people who have been all about the moon, and ignored asteroids. 

Does this event change anyone's mind about which destination is or should be next?
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #2 on: 02/17/2013 07:15 PM »
Iím not exactly high on the UN as well but what they do have is an organizational body representative of the nations on Earth.  The U.S. more than likely would lead such an effort and contributions from member states could be based on some kind of proportion of GDP...
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Offline majormajor42

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #3 on: 02/18/2013 02:03 AM »
multinational funding would require a multinational project. It is hard to get other countries to contribute to something if their money will go towards jobs elsewhere. It is hard enough to get American Congress members to sign off on appropriations that are not spent in their districts.
...water is life and it is out there, where we intend to go. I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man or machine on a body such as the Moon and harvest a cup of water for a human to drink or process into fuel for their craft.

Offline Lar

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #4 on: 02/18/2013 04:24 AM »
This veers into politics... but asteroid defense is a "tragedy of the commons" situation, I think... you can't realistically defend "just the US" can you? I can envision situations where you let the asteroid hit if it wasn't your country but I suspect that would play really badly.

What if building asteroid defense also got you mineral rights to any deflected asteroids? That is, revise the OST to pay for the defense???

What if there was a way to get insurance companies to pay shares for the coverage based on how much protection they write (the way fire companies were funded back in the days of the American Revolution) ?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #5 on: 02/18/2013 11:44 AM »
Iím not exactly high on the UN as well but what they do have is an organizational body representative of the dictatorships on Earth.

Fixed that for you.

Quote
The U.S. more than likely would lead such an effort and contributions from member states could be based on some kind of proportion of GDP...

As long as control of the project is also based on proportion of GDP.

The US should not be so stupid as to hand over its money to an organization controlled by corrupt Third World oligarchs.

I would agree with that Jorge, we donít need another money sink hole... Suggestions for "holding" of funds welcome... :)
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Political Hack Wannabe

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #6 on: 02/18/2013 02:38 PM »
Within the context of the discussion, and depending on the time we had to actually respond, there are a few options that are actually viable

1) Inter-governmental agreement for ISS - this, I think is actually the easiest/most likely.  It already has all the likely players at the table.  In the event that time is particularly short, its possible you could reverse engineer this after the fact, if you will (IE we did this, and now that its done, and congratulations all around, we'll make it legal under ISS IGA).  The one "problem" is it doesn't include all of the space powers, but it does have most of them

2)  NATO - although NATO does not include all of the major space powers (Japan, Russia, China, India) there is precedent for NATO to work with non-member countries.  It also has a history of doing actual large scale operations, which is not necessarily the case for some other intergovernmental organizations
It's not democrats vs republicans, it's reality vs innumerate space cadet fantasy.

Offline Lar

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #7 on: 02/18/2013 02:51 PM »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Lar

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #8 on: 02/18/2013 06:11 PM »
This veers into politics... but asteroid defense is a "tragedy of the commons" situation, I think... you can't realistically defend "just the US" can you? I can envision situations where you let the asteroid hit if it wasn't your country but I suspect that would play really badly.

For large enough asteroids, it doesn't matter where it hits... the whole Earth is going to have a very bad day.

Even medium-sized asteroids can cause worldwide devastation if they hit the ocean (which covers 3/4 of the surface); the resulting tsunami could inundate coastal areas in many nations.

And ideally, if you were actually going to try to deflect asteroids, you'd want to detect them early enough that you don't yet really know where they're going to impact.

So I don't see your concern as being real, except for the case of small asteroids that are discovered late enough that we know right away where they're going to hit... and in that case I doubt we could deflect them anyway, only warn/evacuate.

"Tragedy of the commons" is another way of referring to "public goods" or the free rider problem... Asteroid defense, as you say, is something that the entire planet benefits from, because a large enough one getting through ensures everyone has a bad day.

So how to pay for it? The US CAN'T defend "just the US" on the US taxpayer nickel, it doesn't work that way. But most nations are going to say "why should we pay, let others pay" and be free riders.

I see this as a real challenge, especially to libertarians like me. So I posited some other possible ways to pay for it. Not sure how workable they are... mineral rights might not be worth the cost of deflection, and insurance levies may not be enforcable.
« Last Edit: 02/18/2013 07:34 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline R7

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #9 on: 02/18/2013 07:29 PM »
I agree with UN as a nonstart, you'd just make the bureaucracy squared.

NATO might rub many the wrong way. There are still important people who seem to not have gotten the memo that cold war is over. Conspiracies of covert military/ASAT aspirations would be endless.

Maybe a loose coalition of the willing, countries that have a credible space organization of their own (NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ISRO etc) or are part of such (ESA). Other nations would be just dead weight in this matter, sorry.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #10 on: 02/18/2013 11:10 PM »
« Last Edit: 02/18/2013 11:11 PM by Rocket Science »
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Offline Warren Platts

Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #11 on: 02/18/2013 11:47 PM »
I agree with UN as a nonstart, you'd just make the bureaucracy squared.

NATO might rub many the wrong way. There are still important people who seem to not have gotten the memo that cold war is over. Conspiracies of covert military/ASAT aspirations would be endless.

Maybe a loose coalition of the willing, countries that have a credible space organization of their own (NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ISRO etc) or are part of such (ESA). Other nations would be just dead weight in this matter, sorry.

I would argue that the USA should just go it alone, in the spirit of noblesse obige. If other countries want to kick in, that's great, but not really necessary. Reasonably, spending new monies at the rate of $1B/year would not be unreasonable, and would not break the bank, and would make great progress compared to the current spending level of ~$4M/year....
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Offline Lar

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #12 on: 02/19/2013 12:05 AM »
I agree with UN as a nonstart, you'd just make the bureaucracy squared.

NATO might rub many the wrong way. There are still important people who seem to not have gotten the memo that cold war is over. Conspiracies of covert military/ASAT aspirations would be endless.

Maybe a loose coalition of the willing, countries that have a credible space organization of their own (NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ISRO etc) or are part of such (ESA). Other nations would be just dead weight in this matter, sorry.

I would argue that the USA should just go it alone, in the spirit of noblesse obige. If other countries want to kick in, that's great, but not really necessary. Reasonably, spending new monies at the rate of $1B/year would not be unreasonable, and would not break the bank, and would make great progress compared to the current spending level of ~$4M/year....

And say "in exchange for this largesse benefiting the entire world, the OST is no more, we abrogate it, and our corps will exploit as they see fit... "

That'd be worth a billion a year right there. Once ISRU and the rest of the in space manufacturing base got rolling anyway...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #13 on: 02/19/2013 10:39 PM »
Thinking of this a bit more... Why should this be the responsibility of a space agency alone? Why not a joint effort by NASA and the USAF?  The same could be said of the other agencies and the respective air forces/ air defense... Each can bring their own experts, assets and funds to a global program.
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Offline vulture4

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #14 on: 02/20/2013 05:39 PM »
Thinking of this a bit more... Why should this be the responsibility of a space agency alone? Why not a joint effort by NASA and the USAF?  The same could be said of the other agencies and the respective air forces/ air defense... Each can bring their own experts, assets and funds to a global program.

The mission would carry additional funding with it. Each agency would want the entire mission. Moreover, having worked joint NASA/DOD efforts for many years, I would say that either agency could do the job but splitting it between them would result in significantly higher costs because of the need for coordination and their different ways of doing business. DOD is currently capable of intercepting satellites in LEO but NASA has more experience with deep space missions.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #15 on: 02/20/2013 09:11 PM »
Thinking of this a bit more... Why should this be the responsibility of a space agency alone? Why not a joint effort by NASA and the USAF?  The same could be said of the other agencies and the respective air forces/ air defense... Each can bring their own experts, assets and funds to a global program.

The mission would carry additional funding with it. Each agency would want the entire mission. Moreover, having worked joint NASA/DOD efforts for many years, I would say that either agency could do the job but splitting it between them would result in significantly higher costs because of the need for coordination and their different ways of doing business. DOD is currently capable of intercepting satellites in LEO but NASA has more experience with deep space missions.
Perhaps, if you are of that opinion... NASA and the USAF successfully carried out joint programs over the years, the X-Series of planes ran pretty smoothly. The USAF would have deeper pockets and expertise in high power laser interception for example...
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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #16 on: 02/20/2013 09:57 PM »
When I worked the NRC NEO report a few years ago we found that there was zero interest in this subject on the USAF side. To be totally accurate, there was a single USAF officer (I think he was a major) who was interested in the subject, but he had no clout and no support. (An aside: it is not unusual to find majors and captains who embrace some goofy space ideas--see: SUSTAIN, or SBSP--that don't ultimately get funding.)

NASA was not enthusiastic about it, but that was because of two reasons. The first is that NASA was being forced to support ground-based telescopes and the AA for science at the time really didn't like doing that. It's NSF's job to support ground-based telescopes. The second is that this was an unfunded mandate from Congress and no money came along with it. I think that at least some people at NASA would embrace the NEO survey/mitigation issue if there was funding involved. But they do not want to have to carve money out of stuff they like, care about, and do well, to take on a mission that they don't view as one of their own and did not think was important.

There is a very good reason why NASA should be the lead agency on any U.S. effort on NEO detection/survey and mitigation, however: it is civilian. It is much harder to get foreign countries involved in cooperating with a U.S. government agency if it is military in nature. I would add to that the fact that NASA still has a very good reputation around the world, so it is more attractive to work with them.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #17 on: 02/20/2013 10:16 PM »
When I worked the NRC NEO report a few years ago we found that there was zero interest in this subject on the USAF side. To be totally accurate, there was a single USAF officer (I think he was a major) who was interested in the subject, but he had no clout and no support. (An aside: it is not unusual to find majors and captains who embrace some goofy space ideas--see: SUSTAIN, or SBSP--that don't ultimately get funding.)

NASA was not enthusiastic about it, but that was because of two reasons. The first is that NASA was being forced to support ground-based telescopes and the AA for science at the time really didn't like doing that. It's NSF's job to support ground-based telescopes. The second is that this was an unfunded mandate from Congress and no money came along with it. I think that at least some people at NASA would embrace the NEO survey/mitigation issue if there was funding involved. But they do not want to have to carve money out of stuff they like, care about, and do well, to take on a mission that they don't view as one of their own and did not think was important.

There is a very good reason why NASA should be the lead agency on any U.S. effort on NEO detection/survey and mitigation, however: it is civilian. It is much harder to get foreign countries involved in cooperating with a U.S. government agency if it is military in nature. I would add to that the fact that NASA still has a very good reputation around the world, so it is more attractive to work with them.
I agree NASA still had a lot of credibility outside of U.S. and taking the lead would ease relations. This really could be a State Department issue in dealing with foreign nations. From a military, side NATO seems to work pretty well with 28 member countries. Once again you nailed it with the issue of funding... I hope it doesnít take a quasi-apocalyptic event to get the attention of world leaders....
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #18 on: 02/20/2013 10:52 PM »
I agree NASA still had a lot of credibility outside of U.S. and taking the lead would ease relations. This really could be a State Department issue in dealing with foreign nations. From a military, side NATO seems to work pretty well with 28 member countries. Once again you nailed it with the issue of funding... I hope it doesnít take a quasi-apocalyptic event to get the attention of world leaders....

I actually think that NASA has more credibility than State.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Planetary Defense
« Reply #19 on: 02/20/2013 11:50 PM »
I agree NASA still had a lot of credibility outside of U.S. and taking the lead would ease relations. This really could be a State Department issue in dealing with foreign nations. From a military, side NATO seems to work pretty well with 28 member countries. Once again you nailed it with the issue of funding... I hope it doesnít take a quasi-apocalyptic event to get the attention of world leaders....

I actually think that NASA has more credibility than State.
Yup, NASA is a great ambassador for the U.S. and has been fruitful for multiple administrations.
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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