In Russia, they intend to create a national center for tracking and tracking dangerous asteroids and comets, said Igor Bakaras, head of the information and analytical center for ensuring the safety of space activities in near-earth space at the head scientific institute "Roskosmos" TsNIIMash, RIA Novosti reports.
He clarified that the center's task will be to detect small celestial bodies approaching the Earth - dust, meteoroids, comets and asteroids.
“As part of the creation of a system for monitoring and information support for the safety of space activities in near-Earth space, it is planned to create a Russian center of small celestial bodies, the main task of which will be the detection and tracking of celestial bodies of natural origin, approaching the Earth,” he said.
In the format of this organization, specialists from Roscosmos, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will interact, Bakaras explained. The center will also exchange the received information with other countries and international organizations.
According to preliminary estimates, the project will begin in mid-2020.
The scientific director of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INASAN) Boris Shustov has repeatedly put forward a similar initiative. Russia, in comparison with other countries, is discovering an insufficient number of dangerous space objects, RIA Novosti quoted him as saying. In particular, by the beginning of 2019, the Russian contribution to the detection of dangerous asteroids was 0.1%, while the United States made the main contribution.
Note that in November, Roskosmos announced its intention to place telescopes on the Moon to track dangerous asteroids. According to the executive director of Roskosmos for promising programs and science Alexander Bloshenko, telescopes on the Moon, together with satellites at the libration points of the Sun-Earth system, should enter the global system, which will monitor potentially dangerous objects against the background of the Sun and in the depths of space.
Sergei Naroenkov, senior researcher at the Solar System Research Department at the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, secretary of the expert working group on space threats of the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RT that the problem of asteroid-cometary safety has been considered for about 20 years.
“Recently, we have witnessed the repeated fall of cosmic bodies to the earth. For example, the Chelyabinsk event. Over the past 20 years, the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences has been working on the problem of asteroid-cometary hazard and has come up with a proposal to create a system to counter space threats. There is still no such center, and, as a rule, such systems are created at large space agencies. For example, there is such a center at NASA,”he said.
The expert also believes that such a system is necessary for Russia, as it will allow the country to have an independent source of information on the space situation. According to the interlocutor of RT, if such a large program as Roscosmos plans is launched, then Russia will have real means for monitoring.
“The system being developed will help to predict the place of the fall of a dangerous object, and possibly calculate the consequences of collisions. Naturally, protocols on interaction with the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the area of civil defense should be implemented,”he explained.
Recall that on February 15, 2013, a meteorite entered the Earth's atmosphere, which caused a strong explosion at an altitude of 30-50 km and the fall of numerous fragments on the territory of the Chelyabinsk region. The largest fragments fell in the area of Lake Chebarkul. As a result of the incident, 1,615 people were injured, most of them from broken glass.
In November 2019, Russian observers discovered a new asteroid comparable in size to the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Experts from the Astronomical Scientific Center have found that a celestial body is approaching the Earth and is in a heliocentric orbit with an orbital period of 2.89 years.
In 2016, an automated warning system for dangerous situations in near-earth space was created in Russia. It includes optoelectronic stations located on the territory of the country and outside it, in particular in Armenia and Brazil. At the moment, the system mainly monitors objects in near space, including tracking space debris and ensuring the safety of spacecraft movement.