Monthly Archives: October 2013

United Nations to Adopt Asteroid Defense Plan

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=un-asteroid-defense-plan

Earth is not prepared for the threat of hazardous rocks from space, say astronauts who helped formulate the U.N. measures

“…The U.N. plans to set up an “International Asteroid Warning Group” for member nations to share information about potentially hazardous space rocks. If astronomers detect an asteroid that poses a threat to Earth, the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will help coordinate a mission to launch a spacecraft to slam into the object and deflect it from its collision course.”

While I am not sure that slamming objects into a careening asteroid is the most nuanced (or even effective) response, it is interesting and gratifying that an authority at a higher level is at least planning on having a plan. Ed Lu and Rusty Schweikhart can use their B612 Foundation as a megaphone for action, and even build the Sentinel Telescope mission, but without a greater intention to act, all we can do is watch a disaster unfold. Despite any personal hard feelings that I have regarding the United Nations, this is still very good news.

Outbound: We Live and Work In Space.

This is Day One of the Outbound Story.

Or, at least, it is the first day for anyone outside of my own mind as to the existence of the concept I call Outbound.

Our species is a complex creature at the best of times, comprised of various parts enlightened self-interest, societal pressures, basic needs and fervent desires, and of course, mixtures of all of that into what we call the human condition. For the past several thousand years at least, most of that condition has been measured against the terrestrial background and the history that we have packaged with it. In recent years, however, we have begun to stretch beyond that ancient background, into the vacuum between us and other bodies in the cosmos. With great wonder, and with an ever-increasing sense of mystery, we have yearned for more information and perhaps more freedom in new frontiers beyond the confines of the Earth. There is an innate sense that we can indeed extend and amend the human condition into the universe, and that is only achieved by going Outbound.

I will soon have a forum set up to discuss the many, many questions that must be answered in order to follow the Outbound track, but until then, for those of you now aware of our web presence, think about one question, would you please?

What is outer space to you?