Asteroid Affirmative

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No Current Programs

No asteroid defense currently being thought of, nor implemented.

Kaupa and Garretson in 08, [Douglas and Peter. "Planetary Defense: Potential Mitigation Roles for the Department of Defense." Air & Space Power Journal. XXII, No. 3 (Fall 2008): pg. 34-41. PN]

Since detection efforts began in the mid-1990s, NASA and supporting teams (using only ground-based telescopes and a meager budget of $5 million/year) have catalogued over 4,000 near-Earth asteroids (NEA). The discovery rate has increased each year during the past decade (fig. 4). We predict that a subset of the total NEAs shown in figure 4—potentially hazardous asteroids (PHA)—will come within 750,000 km of our home, less than two times the distance between Earth and the moon. PHAs are too massive to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. As of November 2006, we have detected 843 of them, 700 larger than 1 km and capable of regional destruction. No known asteroids target Earth now or for the next several years. However, this information can change rapidly. Nobody knows how long Earth will be spared. Our planet has not been so fortunate in the past. With 843 PHAs and counting, we must seriously consider mitigation options. Rather than debate whether we need planetary defense, we must determine when we will need it. From a policy perspective, we know that at least 843 asteroids prowling our neighborhood could cause local, regional, or global destruction, so we have just begun to understand the total threat. We won’t comprehend its full extent until we overcome the “giggle factor” and stop erroneously ascribing such thinking to science fiction. We need to create contingency plans and establish guidelines as an insurance policy—a far less expensive proposition than the consequences of suffering a direct hit.

No proven systems for asteroid deflection in existence.

Bucknam and Gold in 08 [Mark and Robert “Survival” (00396338); Oct/Nov2008, Vol. 50 Issue 5, p141-156, 16p PN]

Despite human inventiveness and rapidly expanding knowledge, the ability to detect threatening asteroids and comets is weak, and there are no proven systems for deflecting them. Scientists have identified the problem and analysed possible approaches for addressing it, but no one has begun to implement any of the proposed techniques. The threat of collision from asteroids and comets calls for a three-step approach to mitigating the risks: first, find and track objects that are potentially hazardous to the Earth; second, study their characteristics so as to understand which mitigation schemes are likely to be effective; and third, test various deflection techniques to ascertain the best way to adjust the orbits of asteroids and comets, and possibly field a planetary-defence system. Each of these steps would benefit from international cooperation or agreement. It takes an asteroid like Apophis, or a comet like Shoemaker–Levy 9, to remind us that the threat from space is real. And while the probabilities of a strike are small, the consequences are potentially cataclysmic, making our current state of near ignorance unacceptable.

**Asteroid Impact Advantage**

Asteroid Impact Inevitable/Likely

Asteroids have fallen to earth and will continue to, we must track and deter these bodies before they reach earth or they could wreak havoc across Earth.

Kerr, 2002 (Richard) (Science; 9/13/2002, Vol. 297 Issue 5588, p1785, 2p, 1 Color Photograph)

Asteroids fall to Earth. They always have and always will, unless humankind finds a way to intervene. If one were to strike tomorrow, it could rain death and destruction on a scale that would threaten civilization's very existence. At a NASA-sponsored workshop[1] held here last week, researchers heard mixed tidings about the asteroid threat. The good news is that the search for civilization-ending asteroids seems to have passed the halfway point and is on track to reach NASA's goal of detecting 90% of them before the end of the decade. On the other hand, astronomers haven't gotten far finding the tens of thousands of smaller bodies that could still wreak havoc across a megalopolis. And if an asteroid of whatever size were detected on a collision course with the home planet, no one would know what to do about it.

Asteroid Impact Inevitable/Likely

Earth will be hit by an asteroid – it’s only now we’re realizing the danger of the situation.

Dominion Post 2003 (“Answers to averting Armageddon,” September 9, 2003, p. 10., 4/23/11, Lexis-Nexis, znf)

THE inside story of how Britain and America are developing the technology to protect our world from an asteroid impact, Killer Asteroid shows how violent our solar system can be. Our Earth is under constant threat of bombardment. Each year, many fragments of debris hit our planet. Fortunately for us, most are so small that they burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere. However, there are hundreds of larger asteroids orbiting near the Earth. Many scientists now believe that one of these hit the Earth 65 million years ago, killing the dinosaurs, along with 90 per cent of all life on the planet. What's more, it is only a matter of time before the Earth is hit again. British astronomer David Levy says, "The chance that we are going to be hit by a large comet or asteroid is 100 per cent." Killer Asteroid experts warn that nuclear weapons, the most obvious strategy to eliminate an asteroid, may not be able to destroy an approaching asteroid. The same experts, and now the US military, recommend the use of the sun's power to nudge an asteroid away from the Earth. In the same way a magnifying glass is used to set fire to a sheet of paper, the sun's rays could be focused on to the surface of an asteroid, blasting particles of the asteroid into space. This would act like a rocket engine, and might be enough to nudge the asteroid out of harm's way. Until recently, no one took the asteroid threat very seriously. Yet the evidence that we are in danger is on our own doorstep. We need only look at the cratered surface of the Moon to realise that it has been pounded by impacts throughout its history. Why then, if collisions were common, was the surface of the Earth not scarred in a similar way? Unlike the Moon, the geography of the Earth is constantly changing, as continents move, and the landscape is constantly reforming. However, scientists realise that many features they had once dismissed as extinct volcanoes could have been made by asteroids. Then in 1994, something happened which brought home how immediate the danger was. Astronomers realised that comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was heading straight for Jupiter. The spectacular -- and violent -- impact created an explosion the size of Earth, and was the first time a collision between two astronomical bodies had been observed. Nasa and the British Government sprang into action and came back with a very frightening report: there was a real risk that an asteroid could collide with Earth, and soon. All now admit that it is not if, but when an asteroid hits Earth. The question is: what can we do to stop them?

Asteroids are a threat—in 2009, one passed seven times closer to the earth than the moon.

Macey 2009 (Richard, Sydney Morning Herald, “Asteroid Plays Chicken with Earth,” 4 March, 2009,, znf)

IT COULD have put an end to our worries about the economy and those sharks at Sydney beaches. At 12.40 yesterday morning, as the city slept, a previously unknown asteroid swept about 60,000 kilometres over the south-western Pacific. In astronomical terms it was a close call. Estimated to be between 30 metres and 50 metres wide, it passed almost seven times closer than the moon. Advertisement: Story continues below "No object of that size, or larger, has been observed to come closer to the Earth," said Rob McNaught, of the Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran. In 1908 an object possibly up to 50 metres across flattened some 2000 square kilometres of Siberian forest. Mr McNaught said yesterday's asteroid was probably smaller but it could do a lot of damage to a city. If it had crashed into the ocean "I imagine it would produce a tsunami", he said. Funded by NASA to search for asteroids bigger than one kilometre across, Mr McNaught spotted the object on Friday night. Within 24 hours astronomers had calculated it would narrowly miss the planet. Mr McNaught said as the asteroid approached Earth yesterday morning it had glowed 5000 times brighter than on Friday night. "It was so bright I could actually observe it through the cloud. That is very rare," he said. He believed that if 2009 DD45 had been on a collision course with a populated part of the planet, there would have been time to act. "A lot of people falsely claim there is nothing you could do, but there is. If there is an asteroid coming, and you have 24 hours, you can evacuate." About 1000 asteroids are known to have come close enough to be classified as potentially hazardous. While a collision with a one-kilometre-wide asteroid could cause global devastation, Mr McNaught said one that was just 300 metres wide could throw the world into "a short-term winter". Objects bigger than one kilometre wide were likely to hit the world only every few million years but ones large enough to threaten a city crashed "probably once a century".

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