Asteroids Aff



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SOLVES ACCIDENTS



Detection is key to solve accidental war from small asteroids

PARK et al. 1994 – President of the American Physical Society, PhD (Richard L., Lori B. Garver of the National Space Society and Terry Dawson of the US House of Representatives, “The Lesson of Grand Forks: Can a Defense against Asteroids be Sustained?” Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids ed. Tom Gherels, pg. 1225-1228)

The emphasis has properly been on impacts that would be expected to have global consequences. Even for objects too small to produce more than local effects, however, it has been pointed out that an impact might be misidentified as a nuclear explosion (Canavan and Solem 1993). Misidentification would be most likely among nations that have recently joined the ranks of "nuclear powers" and would therefore be expected to have less sophisticated means of verification. It is more than a hypothetical concern. We recall that the 1978 South Indian Ocean anomaly, detected by a Vela satellite, was suspected at the time of being a South African-Israeli nuclear test. In spite of the failure to find any confirming evidence from intelligence sources or atmospheric monitoring, it created international tensions that lasted for years. At the time, there were suggestions that it might have been an artifact produced by a micrometeorite impact on the Vela satellite itself, but little serious consideration seems to have been given to the idea that the satellite had observed the fireball from an asteroid impact in the atmosphere. A 1990 satellite observation of an apparent asteroid impact fireball over the Western Pacific has been described by Reynolds (1993). The danger of misidentification, which grows as weapons proliferate among less sophisticated nations, is meliorated in part by publicizing the possibility. The only sure means of avoiding an unfortunate response, however, would be for everyone to know the impact is coming. Which again places the emphasis on detection.


ARECIBO/GOLDSTONE SOLVENCY



Funding programs at Arecibo and Goldstone would allow greater asteroid detection

NRC 2010 (National Research Council Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, “Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies,” http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12842)

Finding: Radar cannot be used to discover NEOs, but it is a powerful tool for rapidly improving the knowledge of the orbit of a newly found object and thus characterizing its potential hazard to Earth. Finding: The Arecibo and Goldstone radar systems play a unique role in the characterization of NEOs, providing unmatched accuracy in orbit determination and offering insight into size, shape, surface structure, and other properties for objects within their latitude coverage and detection range. Finding: Congress has directed NASA to ensure that Arecibo is available for radar observations but has not appropriated funds for this work. Recommendation: Immediate action is required to ensure the continued operation of the Arecibo Observatory at a level sufficient to maintain and staff the radar facility. Additionally, NASA and the National Science Foundation should support a vigorous program of radar observations of NEOs at Arecibo, and NASA should support such a program at Goldstone for orbit determination and the characterization of physical properties.



ARECIBO PLUS GOLDSTONE SOLVENCY



Funding for Goldstone and Arecibo is key to prevent asteroid collision

NRC 2010 (National Research Council Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, “Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies,” http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12842)

Obtaining the orbits and the physical properties of NEOs is known as characterization and is primarily needed to inform planning for any active defense of Earth. Such defense would be carried out through a suitable attack on any object predicted with near certainty to otherwise collide with Earth and cause significant damage. The apparently huge variation in the physical properties of NEOs seems to render infeasible the development of a comprehensive inventory through in situ investigations by suitably instrumented spacecraft: the costs would be truly astronomical. A spacecraft reconnaissance mission might make good sense to conduct on an object that, without human intervention, would hit Earth with near certainty. Such a mission would be feasible provided there was sufficient warning time for the results to suitably inform the development of an attack mission to cause the object to miss colliding with Earth. In addition to spacecraft reconnaissance missions as needed, the committee concluded that vigorous, groundbased characterization at modest cost is important for the NEO task. Modest funding could support optical observations of already-known and newly discovered asteroids and comets to obtain some types of information on this broad range of objects, such as their reflectivity as a function of color, to help infer their surface properties and mineralogy, and their rotation properties. In addition, the complementary radar systems at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California are powerful facilities for characterization within their reach in the solar system, a maximum of about one-tenth of the Earth-Sun distance. Arecibowhich has a maximum sensitivity about 20-fold higher than Goldstone’s but does not have nearly as good sky coverage as Goldstonecan, for example, model the three-dimensional shapes of (generally very odd-shaped) asteroids and estimate their surface characteristics, as well as determine whether an asteroid has a (smaller) satellite or satellites around it, all important to know for planning active defense. Also, from a few relatively closely spaced (in time) observations, radar can accurately determine the orbits of NEOs, which has the advantage of being able to calm public fears quickly (or possibly, in some cases, to show that they are warranted). Finding: The Arecibo and Goldstone radar systems play a unique role in the characterization of NEOs, providing unmatched accuracy in orbit determination and offering insight into size, shape, surface structure, and other properties for objects within their latitude coverage and detection range. Recommendation: Immediate action is required to ensure the continued operation of the Arecibo Observatory at a level sufficient to maintain and staff the radar facility. Additionally, NASA and the National Science Foundation should support a vigorous program of radar observations of NEOs at Arecibo, and NASA should support such a program at Goldstone for orbit determination and the characterization of physical properties. For both Arecibo and Goldstone, continued funding is far from assured, not only for the radar systems but for the entire facilities. The incremental annual funding required to maintain and operate the radar systems, even at their present relatively low levels of operation, is about $2 million at each facility (see Chapter 4). The annual funding for Arecibo is approximately $12 million. Goldstone is one of the three deep-space communications facilities of the Deep Space Network, and its overall funding includes additional equipment for space communications.


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