Zum politischen Umgang mit kosmischen Katastrophen

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Eine wichtige Entscheidung, die die Welt 2010 treffen muss, ist, ob sie eine von Anatoli Perminow, dem Leiter der russischen Raumfahrtbehörde Roskosmos, aufgeworfene Idee unterstützen will, eine unbemannte Mission ins All zu schicken, um einem großen Asteroiden, der nach 2030 mit der Erde kollidieren könnte, eine neue Richtung zu geben.

Mit einem Durchmesser von über 360 m ist dieser Asteroid, Apophis, zwölf Mal so groß wie das Tunguska-Weltraumobjekt (vermutlich ein Meteorit oder Komet), dass vor einem Jahrhundert einen großen Teil Ostsibiriens verwüstete. Soweit feststellbar, detonierte das Objekt am 30. Juni 1908 mit der Stärke einer Atombombe, wobei in einen Gebiet von 2000 km2 80 Millionen Bäume umgeknickt wurden.

Nach Angaben der NASA würde Apophis, falls er auf die Erde träfe, mehr als 100.000 Mal so viel Energie freisetzen wie das Tunguska-Ereignis. Bei einer solchen Explosion würden Tausende von Quadratkilometern pulverisiert, und die gesamte Erde würde unter dem Verlust des Sonnenlichts und anderer Auswirkungen des in die Atmosphäre freigesetzten Staubes leiden. Diese Gefahr erklärt, warum ein russischer Analytiker Apophis als „Weltraumterroristen“ bezeichnet hat.

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