Editor, [Name of Your Local Newspaper]
This past Friday, February 15, 2013, an asteroid came within 17,000 miles of our planet on the same day that an unrelated meteor exploded in Russia (Urry). These two events should make humans ask: Can we defend ourselves adequately from asteroids or meteors that can damage or destroy life on Earth as we know it? We do not currently have enough resources devoted to searching space for stray asteroids or for meteors that might enter our atmosphere (International and Planetary). If we did, we would have known in advance of the meteor. However, even if we know in advance about an asteroid or large meteor, what could we do to protect ourselves if the next asteroid is on a collision course? Right now the answer to this question appears to be “not much.”
Sooner or later, another asteroid will hit our planet, like the one that presumably brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Unlike the dinosaurs, however, we can plan ahead. We need to devote resources to two major efforts: (1) identifying asteroids and other space objects that pose a potential significant risk to our planet, and (2) developing a way to deflect or destroy such objects before they reach us. We should not wait until the last minute to design a way to deal with this situation. I urge concerned readers to contact your member of Congress and state your support of providing funding for a program that will address these very serious issues.
International Astronomical Search Collaboration. Hardin-Simmons University, 2007. Web 17 Feb. 2013.
Planetary Defense Conference. The Aerospace Corporation, 2004. Web 17 Feb. 2013.
Urry, Meg. A Meteor and Asteroid: 1 in 100 Million Odds. CNN.com. 16 Feb. 2013. Web 17 Feb. 2013.