Former Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart has a message for us:
Next Monday (June 30th) is the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska Event. On that day in 1908 an asteroid or maybe a comet – nobody really knows what – fell from the sky and devastated about 800 square miles of Siberian forest.
You can see photos and maps of the site and learn more about the ‘event’ here.
Can it happen again? You bet, says Schweickart. “Near-Earth objects have been impacting Earth episodically for the past 4.5 billion years. They don’t hit often, but when they do they are a serious threat to life and property. Ask the dinosaurs… they lost it all.”
Can the earth be saved? Schweickart is working on it. He’s the chair of the B612 Foundation, which plans to change the orbit of an asteroid by 2015 and prove that humankind can protect the Earth from future asteroid impacts.
It may sound like a Twilight Zone episode, but just in case, I’m heading over to Seattle’s Museum of Flight Saturday afternoon (June 28) to find out more. Schweickart will be there to talk about what astronauts, cosmonauts and experts from around the world are doing to make sure we are ready.
And while we’re talking about objects from outer space, earlier this week Dave Demerjian over at Wired’s Autopia wrote about the news that a police helicopter crew from Cardiff, Wales reported being chased recently by a “flying saucer-shaped vehicle.”