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Russia to complete asteroid shield plan by late 2013

Russia to complete asteroid shield plan by late 2013

PanARMENIAN.Net - Russia will complete a plan for a program to protect itself against threats from space by the end of this year, Civil Defense and Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Tuesday, March 12, according to RIA Novosti.

That comes a month after a meteorite entered the Earth’s atmosphere undetected by existing space-monitoring systems and slammed into Russia’s Urals on February 15, accompanied by a massive sonic boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings around the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring over 1,500.

“The relevant program will be approved by the end of the year, and we will begin its step-by-step implementation,” Federal Space Agency Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said, adding the program will include early warning systems and public emergency training courses.

Roscosmos is currently trying to identify and classify potentially dangerous space objects, Popovkin told a session of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament.

Super-powerful telescopes should be used to detect dangerous space objects in good time, said Boris Shustov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Astronomy.

Ground and space-based systems need to be built for this, he said, adding “regular” telescopes are unable to detect those threats.

NASA estimated the meteorite was roughly 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter when it entered the atmosphere, travelling many times faster than the speed of sound, and exploded into a fireball brighter than the sun.

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