An Open Letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations on Planetary Protection from Meteors and Asteroids

Subject: An Open Letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations on Planetary Protection from Meteors and Asteroids
From: Ruppert Williams
Date: 18 Feb 2013

Dear Mr Ban Ki-moon

While you may be directing your organisation’s efforts and resources towards effecting as much global peace as possible and saving the planet by exhorting all countries to reduce their carbon footprints and save the ice caps, it may have escaped your notice that there is an extra-terrestrial threat to our planet and to the continued existence of mankind.

This is not the threat of little green men from Mars but a real and present danger from bombardment from space caused by rogue asteroids and meteors. As you know, a few days ago a meteor crashed in Russia's Ural mountains has injured at least 950 people, as the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings. The area not only contained factories, but also a nuclear power plant and the Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.
What if the debris had fallen on either of those two facilities? Chernobyl 2? The impact was at 55 degrees latitude. The same as London. What precautions had you in place if the meteor had impacted a mere two hours later… on London?

On that same day, a massive asteroid passed not only in between earth and the moon, but also in between earth and the geostationary satellites that orbit earth providing communication and positioning systems. In cosmic terms, the expression “a close thing” does not come near to describing this event.

This is not the first hit of an asteroid or meteor. One devastated an area of more than 770 sq miles in Siberia in 1908. And of course, there’s the one that altered the course of evolution, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs in a matter of months, and nearly destroyed the planet.

The principal objective of the UN is to maintain international peace and security. What securoity can we have when any day we may learn that a planet-bound asteroid is but days away? While scientists and cosmologists can’t say when the next significantly-sized one will arrive, they are all agreed that there will be one, and more than one.

These two recent events are a clear wake-up call for you to start urgent preparations to protect the Earth and all who live on it. This can’t just be left in abeyance. A large asteroid is already in motion that will one day impact upon this planet. We just don’t know when that will be. But with our present technology, the most time we will have is a couple of weeks. Clearly that is not enough time to deflect safely such a celestial body.
I cannot tell you what science is needed to address this issue, but it must be clear that this is something that must be addressed urgently in order to begin to build the facilities required to protect the plant.

I urge you to have this high on the agenda for the next full session of the UN. While the many conflicts between sovereign states, and the reduction of global warming are the bread and butter of UN diplomacy and its resources, there is a higher need. Instead of contemplating the damage humans do to each other and the planet, we need to focus time and effort on creating a defensive technology to prevent these cosmic missiles from causing death and destruction on a scale we have not seen before.