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Defence of Earth Requires Appropriate, Serious Funding, Say Russian Space

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(LPAC)—Voice of Russia quotes Andrei Ionin of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, as saying: "The threats coming from meteors and asteroids have to be addressed by joint efforts. The danger coming from asteroids has been under discussion for a long time. It’s time to devise an international arrangement for dealing with such threats. The asteroid issue should come before space exploration projects." Although he didn’t say so, if funds for the anti-asteroids program are reassigned from other space programs however, that will not suffice.

As the Voice Of Russia report also hints, funding problems of respective programs in Russia still are not overcome: "Russian scientists have worked out a meteor defense system and it was approved by the Roscosmos Space Agency last year. However, the system which includes space-based telescopes, was found too costly — 58 billion rubles, or nearly $2 billion, for 10 years. Now, the related agencies will have to re-estimate the costs in favor of endorsing the expenditure."

A similar 10-year federal program also worth 58 billion rubles (over $1.9 billion) designed to track down and counteract space threats was presented by Lidia Rykhlova of the Institute of Astronomy (RAS) in February this year, the report says. And if Russia wants to do what the head of its space agency, Vladimir Popovkin, told the Russian Federation Council special session on March 12, namely "We want to put a ’beacon’ on the asteroid Apophis to ascertain its exact orbit and work out what further actions to take with respect to the asteroid’s approach to the Earth in 2036," funding has to be visibly increased.