5:50PM Oct 27, 2021
is imagination action, I see Caroline has joined the stage and she's going to do something very special. This is saying this is how we kick off our show. But I just want to orient people. Imagination action is is a is a show about conversations with some of the most compelling people. It's a dynamic mix of Imaginators. That's the word we refer to our, our special guests. Imaginators it's sort of a made up word and has to do with imagination and action. You can go to our website, you'll you'll find their personalities, their their, their profiles, their headshot, their bios, all there. These are people who we see re envisioning the nature of their work their industries, and driving the action that will power our futures. And I can't think of a better group of people than people that are trying to protect the planet, protect our species, avoid existential threats. You could call this team, the new Teen Titans, the X Men, these are these are people who are doing some really important work that if it wasn't being done, I think we'd be in real trouble and excited to hear how they started and where they are and where they're going and where they want to go and, and what they want the public to know. This is long form journalism, as people listen to tick tock and things get shorter and shorter, we're going the opposite direction, we're going longer. So this is a two hour interview, and we're recording it and a few minutes at the end of the show, we'll post the full audio will post a transcript and we're getting 1000s of people who listened to the show and I think this is our 47th show if I'm if I have to look it up, but we've been doing a lot of these. And we it's great to have our three astronauts and three futurists and to kick off our show we have a very talented New England Conservatory violin virtuoso who's going to play something live and dedicated to protecting the planet avoiding asteroids and and being great leaders. And that's that's who today's Imaginators are so Caroline, if you could play something to kind of kick us off that would be great. Oh, and welcome Rodney Brooks.
And absolutely this is um the Alamanda from partita number one for solo violin by JS Bach
just the first a part because Carolyn Are you pushing the button play on a CD ROM are you actually playing something
I'm playing this live in my kitchen? on a speaker phone on a on my iPhone? I mean through my through the iPhone so yeah, all right. Um, this is the A part because I think it's only going to be 60 seconds right
so you can go 90
Okay, well let's just see how long this is. I think it's quite long okay. This is shorter though. little strange stuff there. You want me to go on? We're go stop.
Thank you, Carolyn. You're welcome to stop there. So, so welcome everyone. This is imagination, action. I'd love to hear from Danica to define what is an asteroid and then just go around to all our Imaginators. How do you define asteroid? And then I want to go to each of our astronauts and have you kind of talk about what your life as an astronaut was. We're gonna spend a lot of the two hours talking about asteroids. And then I want to go to our futurist and have our futurist, and Ronnie and continue a futurist, even though I know you're a roboticist. But there's kind of blur there. Have each of you explain why you really care about this topic? And, and how it weaves in to some of the things that you think about? And I'm excited to hear from rusty, I think you went around the moon before Neil Armstrong, one of our Apollo astronauts, and I know we have folks that were in the space shuttle and, and people that went on the solutes and stayed in the International Space Station. So we have people who left the earth and kind of seeing our solar system from a different perspective and, and are very thoughtful people who really care about this. And, and I can't wait to hear what are the different ways that we can prevent asteroids from from hurting hurting our existence? But yeah, so Danica, I turned to you. Welcome to our sixth Imaginators.
Thank you so much for hosting me and all of my colleagues and friends on on this call, I'm really excited to be here. And, you know, the conversation did actually start John with a meteorite that I was handing around at TED, if you remember that a meteorite is an asteroid afterwards hit our home planet. And there was a meteorite that that landed outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, in the town called Winslow at Meteor crater, where an asteroid hit 50,000 years ago. And it's a great way to start a conversation because asteroids are incredibly interesting. They serve a both an important role in the history of our solar system, as well as the history of our planet. And they're also you know, going to serve as interesting objects for us to move out into into the solar system, which we'll talk about a bit more. And you know, occasionally they hit our home planet. So, um, there's lots of really exciting things about asteroids. And I'm having a glass of water next to me right now. And we'll probably be sipping it through this conversation. And that water came from asteroids as well. So I'm pretty excited about asteroids. I didn't know a lot about asteroids before. My friend rusty started educating me about asteroids. So I'm, you know, incredibly excited to be part of a small group of people who both think that asteroids are amazing celestial objects and something that we should be worried about. And so we're happy. We're all happy to be here to have that conversation together. So I forget what your question was, John, am I just gonna hand it over to my colleagues?
No, no, just want you to define asteroid like how do you how do you view the asteroid we'll go to Ed next. Anything you want to add Danica?
Um, you know, what I would define asteroids are as a great conversation starter for anybody. A child a grown up, because asteroids are just super inner celestial objects. I mean, I love Pluto and the moon. But, you know, asteroids kind of have this kind of different story that goes around with them. I mean, they wiped out the dinosaurs, they brought us the water on our home planet, we're going to go visit them, we're learning a lot from them. I mean, they really probably brought us the, you know, the seeds of life here on our planet. So, to me, and asteroid is just an incredible storytelling opportunity from a whole bunch of different dimensions.
Great. Well put Ed. Did you ever see an asteroid as you're flying in the space shuttle? Have you looked at telescopes? Have you looked through telescopes and tracked asteroids? How do you define the asteroid? What's on your mind when you think of an asteroid?
Well, I never saw one from space because we didn't have actually onboard space station or spatial, the kind of telescopes you would need to do that. But I think of asteroids really, when I sit back and think about them as little worlds, I mean, and our solar system is filled with lots of worlds as it turns out, millions of them not just the nine planets, but they're, you know, there's really a gradation in size. And you can think of our solar system as being you know, like this vast, swirling ocean where all the objects are going around the sun, every one of these worlds is going around the sun, everyone is its own little world. And the fact of the matter is that most of these worlds are untracked or undiscovered and on track right now, we know where the big ones are, that's the planets. And we know we're about few 100,000 of the of the next size down are, but the vast majority of them are are out there and are just untracked. So in a weird way, we really don't know, the vast majority of the bodies in our solar system, which is both a threat and an opportunity. It's a threat, because sometimes they hit the Earth. And that can be very, very bad. And that happens a lot more often than people think. It's also an opportunity, because each of them is like I said, its own little world, some big some small. And and I think it's going to be really, really interesting over the next decades as humanity moves out into the solar system, which I think it is doing right now. And I think remains to be seen what's going to happen here. But you know, again, think of the think of that, you know, like islands on the ocean, but you know, moving islands if you'd like. And the vast majority of the islands on the map are not charted.
Fast, fascinating. And so were you one of the first astronauts to do a magic trick from space. I feel like I saw that that somewhere. We'll, we'll come back to that, that side of you and your experience as an astronaut. But thank you for that definition.
I was the subject of a magic trick rather than the person.
Okay, well, we'll get more into that. So rusty, as a, as someone who helped put this this team in motion, how do you define an asteroid?
Well, my preference is to look at asteroids as the enablers of life here on on our little earth without the asteroid impacts in the early days. As Danica said, we wouldn't have water to drink. And they also brought brought the hydrocarbons and other things which became the components out of which life emerged on the planet. So without asteroids, we wouldn't exist. Looking toward it in the other direction, not history, but into the future, since we got future support here. In the future, the very same asteroids which are really leftover rocks and stuff from the formation of the solar system, they can enable life, human life moving out from earth into the cosmos, in the form of resources, natural resources, they're very rich ore bodies, and they can enable us to stop digging up the earth, and rather take advantage of the resources in space, which are they're much cheaper than lifting them off the Earth, digging up the earth and lifting them up. But in addition to enabling life, both here on Earth and in space in the future, they can also eliminate life here on earth in the future. And that's the threat asteroid threat aspect of asteroids as Danica mentioned, they're multifaceted objects, both good and bad. basic foundation started out looking at how to protect life one From the asteroids, but it's clear today that asteroids really are tremendous resources. As we become, you know, ultimately a multiplanetary species, as Elon Musk likes to say, be access so
rusty, when I went around the moon, how many people from planet Earth went around the moon, and that's not counting the Vikings, it may have gotten there earlier, that was a joke.
Well, the whole thing might be a bit of a joke, because I didn't go around the moon. Of course, all of us go around the moon in the sense of the moon going around us. And it's all relative. But I spent 10 days in Earth orbit on Apollo nine, I was the first astronaut to fly the lunar module, which later landed on the moon, but we did it in Earth orbit. So that's, that's a bit of a correction in
your, you know, well put, and how, how, how sophisticated was, I mean, the training to be in a position to lead that machine? What was that? Like? There must not have been a lot of precedent for flying such an object.
No, there wasn't, it was really, I mean, my friends were in some sense more impressed by it than than I was, I never really, I trained it. I didn't even think about it. But some of my buddies used to say that I was, you know, one of the bravest of the astronauts, because, you know, we were the first guys who flew in the lunar module in Earth orbit, or away from a heat shield, which would enable you to get home to Earth, we had no heat shield, nor did we have the moon to land on. I mean, we couldn't have landed in the LEM in the lunar module on on anything, but we had to get back, you know, rendezvous 100 miles back to our command module, and Dave Scott and his friendly heat shields in order to get home to Earth, but it was, you know, we didn't really think about you do a lot of a lot of detail training. And that's about like, you know, driving, maybe maybe forgetting a Tesla for the first time when you're used to an old model T or something and you drive down the freeway. You know, somebody might think it's scary. You think it's pretty hot, frankly.
Wow. And for the the versions of the, of the module that came after you, did they change it much after you guys said, Had your your turn on it?
Um, well, in a way, the answer is yes, in some sense. Our lunar module was not fully equipped, we didn't have because we weren't going out to the moon, and actually making an approach and landing on the moon, we did not have the act and active lunar landing radar, which the later lunar modules did, and of necessity, because they needed to land on the moon. But we tested everything other than the landing systems of the moon. So all of the rest of the systems needed for you know, rendezvous and the environmental controls, and, you know, guidance and control and navigation, all of that. All that sort of thing was in our lunar module, but not the specific things that some of the specific electronics and software that allowed you to actually land on the moon later.
Great. I see we have the full spectrum of NASA known again, Cox, who is one of the heads of operations for perseverance at JPL right now is in the audience. So we're just going around the room want to ask Stephen to talk about how he sees asteroids. How does he define asteroid when he thinks of an asteroid? What comes to mind? Then we're going to ask our futurist, and I'm excited to have Allison also post some questions. She's the Chief futures for BCG but tonight she is, is wearing a magischen action hat and not representing her clients. But Steven, what how do you when you think of an asteroid what comes to mind?
Well, greetings to everyone. John, thank you so much for hosting all of us. And Rusty Ed and Danica thank you for starting B612 and the asteroid Institute and kind of bringing this topic into the public's mind set. Well, my my view of an asteroid changed pretty dramatically. Last month, I made my first trip with B612, to that Meteor Crater in Arizona. And you know, you're driving across this very flat, high altitude plateau. And all of a sudden, there's this gigantic impression into the earth and to get out of the car and walk around that and then to walk into the bottom of it made me realize, you know, what an incredible event it was, and how we really need to think about protecting ourselves from other such objects hitting, hitting us. And you know, the statistics were incredible, I think the excavation and this whole thing took like one or two seconds. And it was, you know, 10s of 1000s of tons of earth moved out of the way in just a couple seconds. So I'm grateful for that opportunity. But I would encourage anyone with an interest in this topic to make that journey to Flagstaff and drive out and see the meteor crater. But prior to that experience, of course, I was really aware of the risk. And I can tell you that you know, my first spaceflight, you look back at the earth, and it really changes the way you view things in a couple of ways. One is, just in terms of the peace quotient, you know, we don't see any borders. And so it does really look like one global community. So astronauts are often kind of overwhelmed with this feeling that, you know, we are one global community, and we should really be at peace with each other. And we come back, I think, more tolerant, but also more confused by all the conflict, and that exists in the world. And if you're interested in the subject, you can, of course, go to the internet, look up the overview effect of the ER view effect. The other thing, though, that really strikes you is the awe and beauty of our beautiful planet, Ed and Russia, and I can verify to that it's round. And also, that it's an island in this vast black ocean. I mean, from the visible eye, we've got the moon nearby, but it's just a rock. But otherwise, you know, all of us need to remember that we really live on an island, and we need to take care of the island. And as Rusty said, one of the promises of asteroids is we can stop damaging the Earth itself by seeking its resources, instead, get them from somewhere else. And that'll happen someday. We don't know if it's, you know, 10 years or 100 years. But we will be able to master that the process of gathering, gathering resources from places like asteroids. But on my second flight, I went outside the spaceship to work on the Hubble Space Telescope. And the most stunning moment was when I got within three feet than two feet, that one feat of actually reaching up and grabbing on to Hubble for the first time. And when I did it, it was kind of a spiritual moment, because Hubble is so special, of course, it's taken pictures of things that have happened 12 billion years ago. So in many ways, it's it's an actual time machine. But for purposes of today's discussion, I put my face right up to the shiny skin of Hubble. And, you know, I could see myself so it was kind of a funny moment to see yourself in this giant mirror in the sky. But when I looked really closely at the surface of Hubble, which had been in space about 10 years, at the time, it looked like the moon surface, its its metallic skin, was just bombarded with little tiny specks from little specks of oil, natural things like the asteroid material we're talking about. And also human made things from other spaceships that have disintegrated, or the paint has peeled off. But in any case, I will never forget the fact that the Hubble skin looked like a like a, like the moon surface just packed with all these meteorite holes. And if you go back to the bigger picture, where I told you that the Earth looks like this beautiful island in an ocean, it is and it does look like that. But having looked at Hubble and having seen Meteor crater, it also makes me realize that we're not super well protected by the Earth's magnetic fields, and atmosphere from big giant rocks coming our way. And so I'm so grateful for the efforts that are being made to think about Meteor defense.
Steve, when I talked to astronauts and mentioned your name, they're in awe. What is it about you? Or what is it that you've accomplished that you think other astronauts astronauts are so impressed by? And are you worried about an existential threat to our species in the planet? When it comes to asteroids?
Wow, the answer to your first question is I gotta keep sending them money to say nice things. Thank you for telling me that it's paid off. You know, in terms of when you ask when you talk to people about the space program, and our futures will will back this up. We in our business, think about the long term, we think about the long term. And so we're always thinking about, you know, what's going to happen many years from now. So for example, and we are publicly asked, Will humans fly to Mars? The answer is yes. Without a doubt, we just don't know if it's 10 years from now, or 100 years from now, but we're these little specks in time. So I would encourage all the listeners just remember to take the long view in any thing that they're thinking about that is really innovative, and takes a long view. So yes, we absolutely really need to protect ourselves. Again, we don't know when these things will come to us again, but it's happened in the past, to wipe the dinosaurs out, you know, we just have really need to protect ourselves. So, again, so grateful for organizations to bring our awareness to that. And we also have an upcoming launch of one of the first experiments that that ad would be much more qualified Arnica would be much more qualified to talk about the dark mission. But yes, we really need to take this into account.
Great. I'm gonna turn to Peter and Ronnie. But before I do Danika, what are the three ways we could prevent an asteroid from like a major asteroid from taking us out? And what is a major asteroid? I mean, as you said, a meteorite. You know, you pass one around the other day that some asteroids are turning meteorites are okay, but what's the scale or size? How do you measure one that could be devastating? And what are the ways that we can prevent that? And how much time do we need to prevent it?
Well, there's three ways that we can prevent an asteroid impact. The first one is what is called kinetic impactor, which is the double Asteroid Redirect test mission that's launching next month on November 24. At least the launch window opens, then, music saw has been advocating for this technology demonstration mission, since you know the day that it was organized by Ed and rusty and a few other folks. So we think what's happening with Dart is a you know, really significant step forward for humanity. And so that's a really good sign. So that's one way so we're gonna practice up racing. Second way is called a gravity tractor. And add, who's on the call here, astronaut Ed Liu and astronaut Steve love, developed a technique called the gravity tractor, it was essentially, you put you use use gravity to tow an asteroid into another position. And that can talk more about the physics of that if people want to hear about it. And then the third way, would be using a new killer device, and we wouldn't blow it up like Bruce Willis did in Armageddon, but we would use the energy from the explosion to push through that energy on the asteroid into another orbit, we prefer option number one and option number two, which both require us having enough advanced warning. So that advanced warning that we're looking for, and we're hoping humanity can achieve over time by increasing the rate of asteroid discovery is, you know, 15 or 20 years so that we have time to mount a deflection campaign, whether it's a kinetic impactor or gravity tractor. So those are the three ways the first two, we prefer. And it all really depends on our ability to accelerate the rate of asteroid discovery, which today is we're making good progress. We know about 28,000. near earth asteroids, we don't really care about the ones out there in the asteroid belt. We care about the ones who come near our home planet. And we find about 2000 new near earth asteroids every year, primarily with two telescopes, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona and pan star in Hawaii. And there is a mission that that NASA has partially funded called me a sim, which may fly that will be helpful for identifying asteroids. But the thing that's most exciting on the horizon is first light for lsst recently renamed Vera Rubin, which will have sea firstlight in 2024. And that's going to deliver an incredible number of new asteroid discoveries. And so our team would be 612. And other folks are quite excited about what LSST is gonna going to do. And so I'm going to hand it over to ad to talk about those deflection techniques a little bit more.
Yeah, I just want to when you said you know, what can we do to protect the Earth, um, it's, it's kind of like the three rules of real estate, you know, one of the most important things is location, location, location, protecting the Earth, the, the three most important things from protecting the Earth from asteroids are find the asteroids, find the asteroids, and find the asteroids, and everything else kind of falls into the easy to do category. Once you've done that. It's really all about having advanced warning, if I give you you know, 30 days warning that an asteroid is gonna hit the Earth, not a whole heck of a lot, we can do that things coming in fast, and it and there's not much we can do, we would not be able to mount much of an effective defense in general. But you give me 15 years, or 10 years, or 20 years or 30 years. And it gets gradually it gets easier to the point where it's almost something that we were sort of 100% Certain will work. And the dark mission that Danica just mentioned, which is launching, let's see, one month, it's four weeks from today, actually, is gonna be the first actual test of the deflection of an asteroid, the changing of the orbit of an astronomical body on purpose. And I think that's kind of cool, actually. Because, I mean, we're actually to the point where we are, you know, very, very, very, very, very slightly modifying the trajectory of an of an astronomical body and you know, In the end, that's what we really want to do when we want to protect the Earth. In the end, what we are doing is we are going to find when an asteroid has a chance of hitting the Earth. And we will change its trajectory by a ridiculously tiny amount, but enough that it'll Miss there. And that in some sense, really is sort of engineering on the grandest scale, right? I mean, that is actually changing the evolution of our solar system to protect life on the third rock from the sun, where we all live, our island is Steve arrestee. Both put it and humanity's just about to take that step. But the number one thing you can do to protect your foreign away is to find all the asteroids and track them and get a good inventory of where everything is and where it's going. Without that you can't do anything else.
Yeah, thank you. And for your leadership, I know you're serving as president, and you work very closely with Danica. And I want to get into a little bit soon about the organization you've formed. And I know we have some co founders on in this room. But let's go to Peter and then Rodney Rodney Brooks, a, I don't you for years, and I have deep respect for you. So we'll end with you in this kind of first section. But Peter, you're very well respected futurists and you, you're part of the Salesforce team. When you think of the asteroid, how do you how do you define asteroid? When you wake up in the morning? What are you thinking about when it comes to asteroids when you go to bed? What keeps you up at night about asteroids? How does this factor into your kind of charting future trends?
So Peter, you're on mute. And I know you're you're you're relatively new to clubhouse.
There you go. There we go. I thought I don't know you did my head not sorry. You're hearing me now?
Yes, perfectly. Great.
Good. Good. Thanks. So great to be here with all my friends as well. When I think about asteroids, it's one of the two big things that has changed. I think both the future the world the future of space that has developed in recent years, I've been interested in space since I was a kid I actually got my degree in astronautical engineering, from RPI, so I actually am a rocket scientist, literally, a been friends with rusty forever. So on, I'm an astronaut groupie. But for a long time, space was modestly interesting, but not really transformative. The space shuttle the space station, these were kind of kept us going at the robotic missions to places like Mars and the Moon and, and deep space to Cassini around Saturn was amazing. But human flight in space, and the real drive beyond a kind of shrinking, excited group of people wasn't really there. And then two things have happened in recent years, the first of which was that we began landing boosters. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have now been bringing their boosters back to Earth of their rockets, that changes the game in terms of access to space. Fundamentally, we can now do many more things in space than we could before, then the cost of space of access is falling dramatically. I mean, just imagine if we threw airliners away after every flight. That's what we were doing before. Now that's changed the airliners land and come back again. And so that access to space has increased. And that means we can do lots of things like tourism, for example becomes plausible, as we've just seen. But asteroids have given us a new sense of purpose, versus the upside that I think rusty and several others mentioned that there are things we can do with asteroids that are near to Earth that don't require us to go to Mars, or the moons of Saturn, and Jupiter, and so on. These asteroids passed relatively close by, and we can imagine doing things with them like mining and resource capture and so on, or even habitations. For example, there the old idea of space colonies to Gerardo Neil had using asteroids, this all becomes plausible on the upside. And on the downside, we now recognize that big rocks do hit us fairly often. I mean, in the last century, we've had basically the, the explosion of a small asteroid or comet over Tunguska in Russia, and then more recently, I think, was 2014. One over Chelyabinsk both of those could have been really catastrophic. If either of those had exploded, say over in New York or Paris or London, or actually hit the human death toll would have been catastrophic. We were quite fortunate that They happened the way that they did. So we know they happen often. So we now have a motivation as a result of asteroids to do a lot. And we also now have the capability of doing vastly more than we've ever done before. So now asteroids actually figure very large in human history, one saving human history on the other hand, and opening up new prospects on the other. So that's why I find it really exciting.
thank you, Peter, for that, Ronnie, you know, when you think of asteroid, what comes to mind?
That's, that's me on. Yeah, so I've been, you know, interested in in space for a long time and, and proposed sending small rovers to Mars back in 1989. And was involved with a lot of that process. But I've also always been interested in how we can exploit asteroids. And then recently, last month, I was with Steve and Ed and Danika, medial Crater in Arizona, and it was only a 40 meter diameter. Iron, asteroid or meteor that hit and it is just stunning, the Steve said, the size of the hole. And if that had happened, you know, in the middle of one of our cities, or even near one of our cities, it would be total disaster. So the the mission of the 612 to find all the asteroids so that we can then use one of these techniques to gently move them out of the way, is pretty important for us. That Peter just mentioned the tail, we have bins Commedia from 19. From 2013, it was half the size of the one that created that enormous hole in Arizona, which means about me to the mess. But that would have been disastrous too. And then I think about Wow, we've got this new information resource. And what we know about technology is when we have new data, we can explain it in many ways. And the idea of exploiting these meteors, or sorry, that asteroids, maybe gently nudging them into Earth orbit if they nearby and then exploiting the resources. Of course, you know, Ed, when he found that be six, one to one, but keep the asteroids away from Earth. Now I'm talking about bringing them closer to Earth. So maybe that's a little more dangerous, I must admit. But exploiting the asteroids, I think is just a tremendous has tremendous potential for for humankind. So I'm excited from the protected point of view that they tried to do. And from the exploitation point of view, both tremendously exciting, that they're protected. One is much shorter term. The exploitation is much longer, Tim.
Great. And Rodney, you ran CSAIL, I think the largest lab at MIT, computer science, artificial intelligence, a lot of robots, and you definitely have a valuable perspective on this. Allison. Are you ready, I wanted to ask you to kind of pose the question now, is this a good moment? Or should I go to Danika?
Sure, I would love to hear more about basics 12. And what other organizations out there are looking at these issues, I'm fascinated by how asteroids line up with our existing global approaches to global issues and whether this is mainly US led international consortium, love to just learn.
Berg is taking a leadership role in some of the literature.
Yeah, I'll go ahead and start and I asked Adam rusty to you know, fill in some of the blanks. Basic swell was founded by adding Rusty 18 years ago. I serve as the president, CEO of the organization today. And we are as I said, the only organization a non governmental organization dedicated to protecting the planet from asteroid impacts. There are some agencies inside of both NASA and ESA that are focused on planetary defense and I'll let ad speak to those in a moment.
There was work part of the reason why we've gotten as far as we have with the program that rusty and I and delete guitars from Queen Dr. Brian May and a filmmaker by the name of Greg rector's. The four of us created something called asteroid day, which is a global day of education and awareness, which we modeled after Earth Day. And you know, the idea was to inspire the world to be as inspired about asteroids as we are both from the you know what the Opportunity what the opportunities asteroids represent and the risks that asteroids represent. And so today, you know, so asteroid Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the June 30 10, Guscott impact. And we're in our eighth year. And we, as I said, modeled it after Earth Day. And so 1000s of independently organized events happen all around the world, in different languages, with their experts from their universities, their schools and our astronomy clubs. So that's a that's a, you know, sort of self organized group that's focused both on planetary defense but asteroid education, as well. When we started asteroid day one of our key partners to starting it was the association of space explorers. So that's the club that add rusty and Steve on belong to, and you have to have flown into space. circled the globe twice, I think, is the criteria. And the ASE. Rusty's urging, created a committee maybe 1716 years ago, Action Team 14 at the United Nations level, to really study this problem of planetary defense and the work that the as he led through the United Nations, led to the creation of two important un working groups, one called the International asteroid warning network. And then the other one, this space mission planning group. And these, both these organizations have representatives from the major spacefaring nations. And I think we have somebody on the call here, as well, who's involved. I looked a little bit earlier, Alex, but I'm not sure if he's still here. And so this is working at sort of the policy and coordination level at a very high level, with organizations around the world. And so, you know, I kind of look at this as the beginning of humanity's really sort of global understanding about asteroids. We have these frameworks at the United Nations level that are, you know, working in the way that you know, the UN works slow, thoughtful and methodical, with lots of buy in from countries around the world. And then we have our government agencies who are investing in missions. So we have on the US side, not only do we have the double Asteroid Redirect, test, mission, flying and for weeks, as Ed said, we have the Lucy mission and the psyche mission, one to go visit the Trojan asteroids to visit the Trojan asteroids, another one to visit a metal asteroid. We're just learning about the celestial objects. What we learned from the OSIRIS REx mission, which is on its way back from an asteroid called Bennu, where they collected a sample, we are learning new things about these celestial bodies with each one of these missions. And the other mission that just came back last year, or landed this year in Australia, was Hayabusa two where they went to visit an asteroid Raghu, they brought back a sample from regrew. And that's now been distributed to research centers around the world or research groups around the world, we're going to learn a lot from those asteroid samples. So we're kind of at the beginning of sort of having these different ways to know learn, teach and protect. So I kind of think of it and I've said this in the press a lot that this is, you know, this is the decade of asteroid discovery, we have these great missions going out, and the sort of the global conscience has been raised. To understand that asteroids are interesting and risk. They're also sadly oftenly clickbait with the stories that shouldn't be in the press, because it's not telling the right story about how great asteroids actually are. So I think of a really just the beginning of a really exciting decade. So I think with that I would have handed over maybe to rusty to talk about the ASC and then maybe add to talk about some of the science coming out this missions.
okay with me, John, you want me to go ahead?
Yeah, whatever Danika thinks is best. Oh, we want to help raise awareness for the work you guys are doing and defer to you.
John, you're well train whatever Danika thinks is best. That's right. What I'd like to do, John would be to pick up on something that Ed and Danica, different things that that the two of them mentioned and introduce a new dimension to all of this. In particular, I want to pick up from Ed saying that, you know, in a few years, the technical aspects of this whole issue of planetary defense become not trivial but Let me just say well understood and well in hand, they're pretty much cut and dried. That's the Early Warning aspect of finding them and plotting know trajectories and predicting impacts. And that kind of thing, the analytic part, and discovery part. The second element is the deflection part or the protection part. By the way, if they're small enough, you don't really deflect them, you let them hit frankly, and we evacuate if if they're big enough to do you know, create death on the ground, you know, serious issues, then you evacuate the area where they're going to impact that's a lot more cost effective and cheaper than trying to deflect them. But the planetary the protection aspect is a second technical thing. But the really tricky issue is what the ASE took on bakwan, we met, we met in our OSED, as Danika said, to create this Near Earth Object committee, because we as a group of astronauts and cosmonauts could bring to the attention of world leaders, the need to put this high on the priority list. And that we took to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space or affectionately called the Outer Space Committee of the United Nations. Now, the issue there, I mean, people say, Why the hell did you bring in the United Nations and well, you know, the technical issues are fine, but who makes a decision? Who pays for it, who decides which nation pushes it which way when you're going to deflect an asteroid, in a way what you're doing, it's a little bit like taking a nuclear bomb, a ticking nuclear bomb, to a disposal site, that's 1000s of miles away, you got to drive it, or chew, chew it through town after a town with people in it, on the way to the dump. In the case of deflecting an asteroid, the dump is deflecting it to the point where it no longer hits along, somewhere along the line on the earth. But in fact, you've taken off the end of the line into space, so that the impact point is now off the planet. That's the dump, but getting it there. And you can move it one way or the other across. Along the line. There's, there's a whole bunch of cities and different countries, etc. And they are temporarily put at risk as you drag the asteroid impact point through that country on the way to the edge of the earth. Okay, so that's what that's what the deflection is like in terms of the effect on the earth, you're taking an impact point, and you're dragging it across the earth until you're off into space. And the asteroid misses the earth. That decision is a political decision. That's not a technical issue. And and what we recognize now a number of us and be 612. Recognize, within a couple of years after we looked at the deflection issues, was a this is a geopolitical challenge. like no other. I mean, if you seriously endanger dragging the impact point through their countries through their village through their city, on the way off the Earth, but it wasn't going to impact them in the beginning. Then, you know, how do you get a an elected leader who's about to go for reelection, to agree to that kind of a of a deflection. So that's why we took this to the United Nations, because while the technical issues are going to be well in hand, the geopolitical issues of decision making, and paying and liability,
geopolitics of it is going to be really, really, really nasty. And that is much harder to deal with. But that is the ultimate question that's going to be faced once ed, and others find the asteroid and predict where it's whether or not it's going to hit and needs to be deflected. Then the geopolitics of the planet take over. I'm going to stop there
so Danika, who do you want to call on or set up? Now? That same conversation?
Yeah, no, I think that ad should you know talk a little bit about the the The missions that are out there, basic asteroid science, and then talk a little bit about deflecting an asteroid.
Well, I actually would rather respond to the rusty first, though, I, you know, Rusty and I, I think there's a little bit of a disagreement on some things here. But there's certainly no disagreement that the political issues are going to come to the fore. When you discover an asteroid, and it will happen, you know, with 100% certainty, you know, these things are out there sooner or later your time is up when we discover an asteroid that's on a trajectory to to hit Earth. And and he's absolutely right, that this is this is entirely a political decision. But I think the calculus is changing fast on what, you know what our both our options are, as well as whether or not you choose to deflect something in primarily, I think what's happening is that the cost of missions in space flying missions in space is dropping very fast. And you know, Rusty's statement that, you know, we might just let a smaller asteroid, you know, only the size of 100 nuclear weapons, let's call it something like that, we might just let that that hit. I think that statement depends entirely upon how difficult it is and how expensive it is to prevent that from happening. And as the cost drops, I think the ability for even a private group to say, hey, we don't want to sit in our town, we don't care if you think, you know, if the US government doesn't want it to hit our town in Kansas, but you know, it's going to take out our town to Kansas, will will fund it, because if it only costs, you know, $20 million, you know, what we've got, and I think they'll do it. Because I think that technology will at some point actually be commonplace, which isn't, which is interesting. I think the the rate at which the cost of operations space is dropping is is phenomenal. And if this continues for another 10 years, and we will be looking at that time where the moving around of asteroids actually becomes feasible by private groups. So then we begin to talk about things like what Rodney was talking about the moving of asteroids for commercial purposes, at some point, I think that eventually that we will be at that point. We're not there yet, obviously. Rusty yet, do you agree with that?
Yeah, I actually do. In fact, I think that, you know, these things don't hit the ones that you might want to deflect, don't impact aren't that frequently. So in all likelihood, I think we may very well be actively mining asteroids in space to to acquire water and minerals, other things that are going to be useful as we continue to explore space. So I think we're going to have commercial entities out there, actually quite familiar with the asteroids, because they're going to be acquiring resources. And when you happen to find another one that has a trajectory, which may cause an impact, you know, you may give a subcontract to a mining operation to global you might change it, right. Yeah, put it out for bid and to have somebody go over and nudge it to the point where it will miss the earth instead of hitting it. So I don't disagree with that. But But frankly, the the political aspects of the whole issue of planetary defense are very serious. And I think our experience over the last year with COVID, and the whole incredible anti Vax and disinformation, campaigns in social media. All of that is going to pale in comparison, it seems to me with a distant from the level of disinformation and distrust of experts that's going to arise when somebody ad hopefully not him, but somebody in the asteroid world says, Oh, we're gonna predict the impact of this guy. You know, it's such a such a date and such it's such a time. I mean, the level of dis of distrust of institutions and scientists and experts is going to be fierce when it comes to something which nobody's ever seen happen before. except a few people in Chelyabinsk it's gonna come, it's gonna pale it's gonna be an incredible public reaction and response
time. I'd like to follow up on that rusty because I think one of our most important projects that the V 612 Foundation is doing is actually an open source project to allow simpler calculation, understanding visualization, and so on trajectories in space. And in particular, when an asteroid is found that is, that is a potential danger to Earth. And those will be found by the upcoming lsst telescope that dedica mentioned, which is going to more than increase the rate of asteroid discoveries by about a factor of 10. At least, it's going to be really, really interesting what happens, because we will find, we know that asteroids that have a chance of hitting the Earth. So I think what's going to be important is that there be complete transparency in both the data and the analysis. And when I say transparency analysis, I mean, there's tools out there that are open sorts of people can check people can look at, they can change if they want, but that there, there isn't the authority from on high that says, Trust me, I don't need to show my work. Trust me, because we saw how well that works. It doesn't it leads to conspiracy theories. And I think our project to make the calculations accessible, is going to be very, very important just in the next few years. So, you know, I think everyone ought to be ready for the fact that there's going to be an absolute flood of asteroid discoveries. Starting in about two years, when in on a mountaintop, and Chile, the LSST telescope turns on, we're gonna find a lot of asteroids that are beginning going to be known to be approaching Earth at close distances in the future.
Real quick, does AI and machine learning help us find those asteroids that is at a tool that will, you know, will go exponential in terms of charting, turning our solar system, our universe?
Not really. Ai works best? When you have a you don't have a good physical model of how thing you know what's going on? Like, for instance, give me the equation for what a smiling cat looks like, right? I don't have one. But how do I find pictures of smiling cats on the internet? Well, I use AI, right? Okay, so AI works best for things where I don't have any equation that describes it really well, for astrodynamics problems, the motion of celestial bodies, we have an extraordinarily good physical understanding, I mean, you can take it down to the 20th decimal place, we know the equations of motion, promise, we don't have the data, right now, the sufficient amounts of data to, to feed into those equations, to to get the fine level trajectories. So we are actually short of his data. And we are doing extremely well on the physical model. Now, AI works best in the opposite case, where you have a ton of data for training of AI, and no idea how to describe an equation, you know, what you're looking for, you know, give me an equation for how you drive a self driving car. Nobody has an equation for it. Right? So this problem that's right for that, finding pictures of cats on the internet, great problem for AI. Asteroid tracking is really the opposite of a good problem. Great for AI. Not enough data. But really, really good physical month.
Is is the astronaut community in lockstep around this issue, like, you know, there's like 500 astronauts or people that qualify, Danica, you mentioned that Or is everyone you know, behind this, like apple pie?
I would say so. Yeah.
I was gonna say this, Rusty, the Association of space explorers has endorses me because of the action we took back in 2007 2005. Actually, at our Congress, we set up the NGO committee. So we we feel a real ownership for this as astronauts and cosmonauts around the world. That doesn't mean that they all actually contribute to it or anything of that kind of immediate, probably a handful of Esther astronauts, maybe 20, I guess, who have been, in a way directly involved in the work. We certainly have the support of the astronauts can be any cosmic community. Yeah.
And I would add, I would add, I'd add to that, that we have 125 of the what is it? 548 astronauts, but what's the number ballpark, you guys, it changes every day. Members, I know there's all controversy about the these new
Oh, not even the controversy that we're just launching more people. So
yeah, anyway, we have 125 or more that have signed the 100x declaration which add rusty and Tom Jones and a physicist by the name of Mark Baslow helped write which actually launched asteroid days. So I can I can safely say that, you know, a quarter a quarter of the ASC is quite behind the idea that we should increase our asteroid discovery in addition to protect their home planet.
Great. Everyone says, Yeah, let's grant people for the first hour of imagination action, we have another hour to go. This is where we have Imaginators. Having conversations, we think these are some of the most compelling people to dynamic mix of people. And these are people Rhian visioning our future and their their actions will power our future and they're making sure an accident so existential threat doesn't take out our species and our planet. So thank you for the important work you're doing. Just wanted to get that in. It's the top of that. It's the bottom of it's the beginning of the hour. And we have one more hour to go. We're just getting started here.
Excuse me, John, if I may, there is a gym, Adam in the speaker section. If you could pull him up, maybe he would be able to offer very valuable input. Thank you.
Yeah, no, I already brought him up. He's already on stage. So what I want to do now is Allison, have you posed another question? And then I want to go around some of the people that are on stage that might have some questions to ask. So Alison, to you.
Definitely will was such a rich topic. And I think many of the listeners on this call some are clearly asteroid aficionados and experts, what many of us are probably feeling a little bit our way in this new celestial body of not quite knowing all the pieces to it. So I have one question from our past and one for our future just to go one level deeper in my understanding. So first of all, from the past, several of you have referenced the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs, I'd love to understand a little bit more. Sort of how that happened. I guess there's now consensus it was an asteroid. I thought when I was a child, we weren't quite sure what happened to the dinosaurs. But I'd love to understand was it from the impact itself the effect on the atmosphere? So that's one question. And then for the future. I'd love to understand more about this idea of asteroid mining. I mean, we all know what mining on Earth looks like. But if you can say a little bit more about who are the companies who are the investors and what kind of technology do you need to bring to an asteroid to mine it?
This rusty, I'll take the first one and let me deal with a hard one.
I'm gonna take the first one. Right. Oh, wait, wait, wait.
Before you start, though, I did want to say that we found 93% of the dinosaur sized and above asteroids. And we can ask NASA for having achieved that with the Spaceguard Survey, oh, we know
that something something the size, that wiped out the dinosaurs, that's about an 11 kilometer diameter object or seven mile diameter object that they're very, very few and far between the frequency that something like that this year, there's something on the order of 100 million years or more. So. But to answer your question, specifically, it that actually was one of the things that caused me to be interested in looking at asteroids and taking asteroids seriously when I started looking at the effect of asteroid impact. As I mentioned before, not only did they bring water and hydrocarbons and other materials to Earth, in the early days of the solar system, which enabled life on Earth, but when they hit they also, whatever life had started and developed, was often destroyed by these large, occasional very infrequent large impacts. Now, here, there are all kinds of effects. There's a big huge energy release when you're dealing with an asteroid hitting the earth. Let me give you one example. At the speed at which an asteroid A large asteroid comes across the Earth's orbit and impacts the earth. The atmosphere is insignificant, the little ones get burned up and we have 100 tons of asteroids to hit the Earth every night in the form of grains of sand or something like that, but they burn up by the atmosphere, but when they get big like Seven miles in diameter, the atmosphere doesn't even exist for him. An asteroid of any size that hits the earth will basically bury into the earth below the surface about four times three to four times its diameter. So if you have think about this, if you have an asteroid, that's a few miles in diameter, it's going to penetrate and go down into the earth 510 20 miles and then explode because of the incredible heat that's developed in that impact process. And it takes out a cone of Earth, billions and billions to quote, Carl Sagan, billions and billions of tons of stuff gets thrown up out of the earth around the Earth, a lot of it gets back into space, like an ICBM goes around the world and hit somewhere else. Some of it actually reaches Escape Velocity have a big impact. So actually, while the shockwave, like a humongous earthquake, affects things relatively locally, tsunami, atmospheric shock, sound, all of those things. The thing which really creates havoc, is that these billions of tons of earth that's thrown up and out of the impact crater a little like, you know, gargantuan Meteor crater that was mentioned earlier, those things come flying up into space, like an ICBM and come down all around the world. And as they come down through the atmosphere, they heat up to incandescent temperatures, and the hole and fire, the whole atmosphere around the earth becomes red hot, so that anything which can burn around the Earth flashes into flame, and you end up not only with all the rock and dust, but with smoke. And that's where you get a nuclear winter kind of thing. And all life gets interrupted around the Earth, the dinosaurs died, because of the lack of an environment which supported on everything. With with about 70% of all species die of the dinosaur, it wasn't just a dinosaurs, is about 70% of all species that existed at the time. So that's what that's what really wiped out the dinosaurs, the incredible stuff that was thrown up in the air and came back down and the atmosphere became red hot, and everything burned and died. So when I was, I mean, if it really impressed me, you know, I'm a technical guy. So I know how many calories it takes to boil water. And to evaporate, let's say, a couple of inches of water in a saucepan. Well, when I heard the analysis of sea level, boiling off, because of the impact of the done,
it's estimated that one meter of sea level law. Now if you think about the size of the global oceans, and boiling off one meter of sea level, that's the kind of energy you're talking about big impacts. So, but thankfully, they happen extremely seldomly. And we know all of the asteroids that were that that are that size, and they're the only one or two of them that we even know about that exists. So they're not the ones we worry about. We worry about the ones that were like Tunku, ska, you know, a century ago. Okay, you got the other
question? Well, I'm gonna I want to expound upon that a little bit. Um, I remember as a graduate student in the mid 80s. Well, first of all, let me back it up even further. When I was a kid, my two favorite subjects were space and dinosaurs had books on both. And the last page of every one of those books on dinosaurs all ended like this. And then the all the dinosaurs died, we'd have no idea why. And I always found that really unsatisfying. And I remember in the 80s, when the first when the theory came out that hey, and an asteroid could have killed off the dinosaurs. I was a graduate student at the time and a professor and his son, Louis Alvarez and his son Walter, at Berkeley first came up with this idea, and I remember thinking, No, in fact, me and and the other graduate students in my office at Stanford said, Well, no, that doesn't make any sense. You know, how could that be? So we said, well, let's just do a little quick calculation how much energy is Isn't it you know, a rock moving at, you know, it's 10 miles across moving at typical speeds here, you know, 1520 kilometers per second really fast. And then you work it out and you go, Oh, wait a second ends up being like a million Giga tons. So it's like, it's like a billion nuclear weapons set off at once. I'm like, oh, okay, that is a lot. And then you look at that. And as Rusty said, Wait a second, you excavate out a crater when something like that is you make a crater? That's, you know, 100 miles across, wait a second, where does all that rock go? That's, that's 100,000 cubic miles of rock. And remember what happened? I don't know. I don't remember, if people remember in the early 80s, that we had. Mount St. Helens put a half of one cubic mile of rock into the atmosphere, and it cooled off the earth for a year. I was like, Wait a second, that's one half of one. What if we put a billion times that all at once, whoa, okay. So then you start to look at some of the physics here and you go, Wait a second, when you get when you hit something like that, at that speed. You know, it's like dropping a ball into water, right? If you if you've ever seen slow motion images of a ball dropping into water, it creates a little crater in the water, and then it you get like a little splash back where the the, the hole in the surface of the water fills in, and you get a central peak. Well, if you work out how high that central peak of molten rock is, it's into space, it's 50 miles high. So they're temporarily in the seconds after seconds after this thing hits, you have 100 mile high mountain of molten rock sticking up into space, that's the splash. And as Rusty said, all that rock comes down. And if you work out the temperature in the atmosphere, you end up that the entire atmosphere of the Earth within about a half an hour, is heated to around 500 degrees, and it stays there for a couple hours. So the here's an experiment, you can all do at home, turn on the broiler of your oven to 500 degrees, put anything inside there and see what happens to it after a minute or two, right 10 minutes, it catches fire. Well, that's what happened to the entire surface of the earth. So we had a global firestorm that started an hour or so afterwards, on all around the entire Earth, the atmosphere was glowing red at 500 degrees. So what that meant is that anything that could burn deeper, so you have a global firestorm of everything on earth all at once that afternoon, or that morning, or whenever, you know, somebody is afternoon, bad day. And so most of those dinosaurs, they met their end really quick. And if you didn't meet your end, you know that afternoon you starve to death certainly thereafter, because everything burnt. So that's what happens when you when you get something that they get there. And, you know, as Rusty said, and Danica mentioned, luckily we we kind of know where most of the big ones are that can do that sort of stuff. Not all but 90 some odd percent we believe we've tracked because whenever you see one in the sky with 90 more than 90% of the chance, you say, Oh, I've already seen this one. So that tells you that you've found 90 plus percent chance of or percent of those those asteroids. It's the smaller ones, the ones that might only wipe out human civilization, maybe not sterilize the earth, that we're worried about the ones that might only take out a continent or might only take out a state, that sort of stuff. And those get increasingly more common. Still not not everyday occurrences. But on the sort of every few 100 years timescale, you end up something like what we saw in 1908 and 10, Guscott took out an area the size of the Los Angeles Basin. So it does happen.
And I And and I think that that's why, you know, we're excited about the work that we've been working on and our collaboration with folks in the field. We're building something called the asteroid discovery, analysis and mapping platform or atom. And and so this whole notion of wanting to know where those asteroids are, hopefully in advance of being hit, and the ability to do future mining, future exploration future scientific expositions, you know, maps have served as the really the basis for for starting discovery in commerce throughout history. And I think, ad has got a nice eloquent way of talking about that and kind of goes back to Allison's question about the future. So I do want to just say a little bit about maps in particular.
Yeah, I think we can make a case that throughout history, maps have been the enabler of the opening of new frontiers. You know that and they've been, they've been strategically important. They've been commercially important and they've been scientifically important. And the same thing is true, whenever you have a new frontier, we always end up mapping it first. And there's always a rush in there to map and that map ends up becoming incredibly valuable. So look at the 1500s, sort of the beginning of the great age of exploration. And you would, you will find that the, all the great powers of the day, we're investing heavily in explorers to map for trade routes for defensive and, and military positions. And for for science. I mean, you look, even the opening of the American frontier after the Louisiana Purchase, what's the first thing they did with loot with Lewis and Clark, they set them out to map the great American West. Right, what for their stated goal was to map it for flora and fauna, roots of potential trade and, and travel. And it became the basis by which the, the frontier was developed. And I think we're gonna see the same thing in space here. Really, you know, as I mentioned, since we don't know currently where most of the asteroids are in our solar system, and the the fact is that everything is moving in space you need, you need a special kind of map in which everything is moving. But that can be done if you were track all these asteroids, and then you would have a comprehensive map. And I think that's going to end up being fundamentally important to the economy of space, to the protection of Earth, because if you know where everything is that I know, if something's going to hit the Earth, as well as the science, our understanding of how the earth came to form, how our solar system was formed, is all written in the distribution of where all these objects are. So if you'd like, I think this map is going to be the fundamental thing that enables the development of space and the protection of the earth. And I think that's pretty cool. We're on the verge of being able to create, but it's a little bit different than a regular, you know, static map. It's not just the data that counts. It's your ability to calculate where things are going accounts. And that is something that is that is now possible.
Hey, let me just jump in here. Peter, and Rodney, you've been hearing a lot from our Imaginators. Just curious on some of your reactions to what you're hearing from them, or any other points you'd like to add. And then I want to go around the room and hear from some of the people on stage who have questions before I do that. Caroline, can you play something? Yeah. Just to celebrate this maybe 60 seconds?
Yes. This is from M. J. S. Bach's Sonata number two for solo violin the first movement?
Great, thank you, Peter. And Rodney, any observations from what's going on? So far? Anything you want to add to the conversation?
Sure. First of all, I Russki emphasized something that I thought was very important, which was the geopolitics of this. And it opens up the dimensions of, of human life that are not kind of the technical dimensions, ie find the asteroid and stop it. But the psychological and social number of years ago, I helped write a science fiction film film called Deep Impact. And Steven Spielberg was the producer and he asked the group that was working on what, you know, now that we've discovered a big rock gonna hit the Earth, what happens on the earth? What happens with people with families with communities etc, with politics? And I think the being ready a, with good answers to that question will be equally important as it was with regard to the geopolitics of making decisions on this grand scale and dealing with the social impact of the sense of risk Then emerges under those conditions. And so I think that whole dimension is as interesting and important and thinking about the future as the technical dimensions of finding things, and finding the asteroids and stopping.
Great, thank you, Rodney.
Yeah, I'm gonna go the other way and go to the technical and maybe this is a question for Ed, you know, as a roboticist. You know, we know that having a long baseline gets you much more accurate observations. And the more accurate we understand the orbit an asteroid, the earlier on the best, better, we know whether it is really going to hit. So I'm wondering if having a an observation satellite that maybe isn't the same orbit as the Earth, but trailing us by an eighth of a revolution around the sun. So that when we have a candidate, as you know, asteroid, which really could be in close trouble, we could ask it to get simultaneous observation. At the same time we get a new observation from earth to get a much better, or set of observations, you had a much better track on the asteroid is that is that something that, you know, in the future, we should be trying to convince some one to put out there for something like that? The general thing?
It? Yeah, that's a great idea, in fact, that there is a number of plans to do things like that someday. You're absolutely right, the longer you can track something, the better I can, the more accuracy with which I can do that track. And so having telescopes at other locations, besides the earth, allows me to extend my tracking link. There are times when that asteroid may not be near the earth, but it might be near one of my other telescopes. And so it's a great idea, it depends upon a couple of things. So you need to make those telescopes inexpensive enough that you can afford to put them out at places like that. And you need to do the onboard computation of what you're seeing. Because the further away you are from the earth, you know, this and anybody who's worked in space knows this, the larger the antenna, you need to transmit a given amount of data back, you're not going to be sending raw images back, because that's just an awful lot of data. And you end up with enormous enormous antenna, which become enormously expensive. So, but luckily, these are two things that are happening nowadays, satellites are getting smaller, less expensive, lunch is getting cheaper, and computation is getting cheaper and better. So I think there's a path forward on on what you suggest.
Great. So this is imagination, action. Let's go to our people in the room. I see. Avery, let's go to you. And let's get three questions at once. So our Imaginators if you could take notes or write on your, your smartphone to some of these questions, and then we'll have you address them. So let's get three questions. Avery, do you want to go first?
Iran, I'm not sure if I said that. Right. Do you have a question?
Thank you, John. Yes, he said my name correctly. Thank you so much for this fascinating a discussion. I'm really interested in space and everything that's related to space. So I was just wondering, that what does the future look like in terms of space travel, and the people and human beings who are interested in space traveling, I know that the topic may not be related to this, you know, discussion, because you are more discussing the asteroids and stuff. But that was my question.
Great. Yeah. may relate, you know, would would we travel the asteroid? So we'll get to that. Right. So thank you for that question. Sean, do you have a question? Oh, yes. Thank you. Um, yeah. So um, I think that what she just touched on, and then also it, but what Ed? Ed was touching on right there. I mean, he, he has some pretty good ideas. But here's, here's my question like, so. What? I'm an artist, so I but I work in many different industries. Right. So what are your thoughts on how? The more say I learned about it, about me coming up with a great theory, for example, or another artist, right? If you look at picture thought, and like, if you look what Albert Einstein did with Theory of Relativity and things like that, I don't necessarily think it always had, you know, maybe the solution has to come from that industry. I think that a collaboration and cross pollenization aspect of looking at all different industries. are coming together, that you might find some things out there that that they may not have ever thought of before. Right. So that's kind of where that's kind of what I do and what are your thoughts on them? Okay, thank you. Jim, do you have a question?
Actually, no, I got pulled into this room. Because of my past position at NASA. I was in planetary science. And so I'm just here to listen. I've met rusty and Ed before. And so I'm just happy to listen.
No, thank you for listening. And if you do have a question, let us know. So Omar, do you have a question? And if I didn't say your name, right, I apologize.
No worries. It's, uh, it's sonar. I was just curious. I mean, I think there's there is a conversation happening right now about, you know, whether investing in space exploration. There's often kind of a zero sum game about it, that if we if we do, it's almost as though we are not paying enough attention to saving the only planet we have. And I think there's a lot of shades of grey there. And I guess I was just curious if the speakers could could lend some perspective on what developing these kinds of capacities would add to our understanding of, you know, and our ability to protect this planet beyond a kind of extinction level event. Are there other other smaller steps that can be taken that actually have real practical value? I'd love to hear more about them.
Great. Thank you. I was on a webinar with Neil deGrasse Tyson. And I think he said we shouldn't be using resources to put people on Mars, and we got to focus on our earth. So you know, it was interesting to hear him come out like that. You know what, let me take two more questions. Todd, and Liam, do you have a question?
Yeah, thanks, John. And thank you all for protecting the planet. I think that's amazing. Um, the, you know, the two body gravity is understood well, right. NASA has been slingshotting probes around the solar system and bouncing them off gravity for decades, even when they had, rather on powerful computers. But there's the Oort cloud and the Kuiper Belt, and the asteroid belt, and all these places where sometimes the known orbits get perturbed by multi body problems. And you know, even three body gravitational problems are difficult. And as you get up in the body, it's quite difficult to those risks turned into the kind of Black Sheep risk, Black Swan risk that is unpredictable. So how much unpredictable risk is there? If you had kind of knew where all the big bodies are? You got 93%? Does that eliminate all risk? Is there still some uncertainty of complex interactions that are just too hard to model?
Great, thanks, Todd. Liam, after you will go to our Imaginators.
Okay. Yes, I do. Thanks for having me up on the stage here. So the question I have is the practical ways that are being deployed right now to do the actual mapping. And I wonder if you can give any comments on the various ways that are currently being used. One of the programs I know a little bit about is the one that's funded by the Planetary Society, where they've awarded 60 grants over the years to the shoemaker, nearest object grants. And, you know, those go to a variety of different people, both professional and, you know, highly qualified amateurs. And it's all around this whole concept of protecting the planet. So yeah, that's my question is just to give a sort of a broader understanding of where the actual mapping is being conducted.
I Astro, I see you're 11 years old, it may be late, depending on what time zone you're in. Do you have a question that you want to ask?
Armand, do you want to jump in with a question? And thank you, Liam, for that question.
Yes, thank you for having me here. I got a question. I wouldn't know if there is any regime to control weaponization of these asteroids.
Great, thank you. So Danika, I'll kind of turn to you there were a bunch of questions asked, Why don't you decide if you want to take them or if you want to add them to add your your executive director or some of our other distinguished Imaginators. So I put you in the pole position.
Great. Thank you so much. Well, I think there's only one that I would like to take and then perhaps, at a rusty might want to comment on it. And that was Liam's question about the Planetary Society and the Shoemaker Levy, the shoemaker grants. So through asteroid day, we've been a big promoter of The that grant program. And it funds as I understand it, the majority of them are telescopes for amateurs, and ad can talk a little bit about how amateurs sort of fit into providing data or follow up observations for the map of the future. I think the thing that is important about the the Planetary Society is, it is the largest organization, astronomy organization in the world. And their Planetary Society has been doing awards, by annually with a group that the 612 is supported from, it's very inception, it's called the planetary defense conference. And it happens every two years. And so those awards are actually announced at the planetary defense conference. And the public is invited to come in and talk to amazing folks like the people that I have the opportunity to work with Steve and Ed and rusty and, and other folks who are part of the astronomy and asked astronaut community. So they do really important work. And they were, you know, really the first to start doing these kinds of grants under the umbrella of planetary defense. And so we think of them as a friend and a partner and, and Bill Nye, the Science Guy is then a regular participant in asteroid day, and also helped us launch asteroid day when we originally announced it. So with that, I think I'll hand it to add to talk a little bit about how the amateurs fit into the map.
Well, one of the things I want to point out, both regarding you know, amateurs is as well as the discussion about, you know, should society be doing these sorts of things, is that the scale of this is actually pretty interesting here. If I ask this out, you know, if I ask, you know, what are the other gloat? What are global problems that that, and what is it the scale of what needs to be done to solve those issues, you know, if you look at things like education, or poverty, or energy or climate, you're pretty soon talking about things that affect every business on Earth, or every life on Earth, you know, how society operates, and you pretty soon get to numbers that are trillions of dollars, literally trillions, okay, per year, to do to really attack some of these types of problems. This is a lot different, because it's really, at its heart, I'm finding tracking asteroids, it's sort of well defined, technically, notwithstanding the political issues that rusty mentioned. But the scale of it now becomes millions of dollars, not billions, not hundreds of billions, not trillions, but millions of dollars. And that actually makes it within the possibility of individuals to do something about this. And it's one of the very, very few global problems, long term global problems that can actually be solved with those, those types of scale of money. And that, you know, so to give you an example, the basics till Foundation has been funded entirely by, by grants from from individuals. And we've been doing this for a number of years now. And, and I think that's remarkable, because this is, these are all this work, all this progress has been because of just, you know, individuals. And we're not that large as nonprofits, NGOs, we're absolutely tiny as nonprofits go. So it's just an interesting class of problem. And I'm not saying at all that we shouldn't be working on those other problems. We should we, but there's this interesting word we should be in the word is, and we should be working on both, right? But you shouldn't let the fact that we can't yet solve poverty as being the reason why we shouldn't work on asteroids are the reason why we shouldn't people shouldn't go to the movies, or people shouldn't go out to eat dinner, or people shouldn't go out and have dogs and cats and you know, take care of their pets, right? There's this word, and you can do all of that. And I don't I think it's a false choice. And especially in this case, because the solving of the asteroid issue is not at all on the scale of these other the cost of these other issues. In fact, you know, Rusty, used to argue in fact that the, to solve this issue from a technical standpoint, would cost an amount of money that would be if you took it out of NASA's budget and NASA isn't spending this amount of money but if you took it on a NASA's budget be something like a percent or so of NASA's budgets that that the number that you came up with.
Pardon me I was muted. Yeah, even if is a 10th of 1%, after you do the initial initial investment, maintaining the database and updating it, etc is less than a 10th of a percent of the NASA budget,
which I put it into the realm of private individuals, a small, like startups to do something about. That's the interesting thing. So, you know, these amateur astronomers, they can do some interesting things, too.
And I can see Steve's my I didn't want to say one one thing to sort of the question that the Liam put out in this question about, you know, saving the planet. Pew Research did a study in 2011 2010, the top two things that the American public believes that NASA should be doing, and they are pretty much neck and neck, this monitor key parts of the Earth's climate system and monitor asteroids, objects that could hit the Earth. And so I think it just is supporting to this notion of it's an and because this problem is a smaller problem, compared to as Ed was talking about the larger problem. Now I'll hand it over to Steve wanted to say something, because now on mute,
yeah, okay. No, I'm thank you so much. I'll just add on because I know sonorous question have had the same, shouldn't we be focusing on problems on Earth. And I love the use of the word. And for my colleagues, I think all of you can tell that those of us in the professional space and business get asked this question all the time, and are super passionate about explaining it. And so for me, the key word is balance. We do want to keep addressing all of the issues that we have to face with our lives are on earth, but also invest some money in the future. And the other thing I'll say is the common theme, for those of us in the space business is that, for example, NASA exists solely to make people's lives better. That's the only reason NASA exists. And we do that, through exploration and gathering information and solving problems. In terms of numbers, these aren't the exact numbers from 2020. But if you're to look at the United States budget, NASA's budget is around half a percent, if I recall correctly, and to give you some ability to understand the size of that if we were to close and give our money to the health and human services sector of the budget, they would get through the money in 10 days. And so Health and Human Services, of course, is addressing some of these larger issues. So this is just a reminder that the business of space is to make people's lives better. And it's a small investment for a huge return.
But even just to add on to that, even if you look at NASA's entire budget, less than 1/10 of 1% of it goes towards the issue of asteroids becomes an even smaller fraction.
So, John, Can I chime in for a second? Yes, please. Adams. Yeah. So you know, Ed, and Rusty, I don't know if you remember me or not. But I used to be Lindley Johnson supervisor at NASA headquarters and who, for the rest of you. Linley is currently NASA's planetary defense officer. And then when I moved out of planetary science, to the Office of the Chief Technologist, it was my organization that took Obama's Obama's challenge, which is titled, The, I think was the Asteroid Grand Challenge is what it was called. And, and that was to find all of the asteroids that could harm human populations and know what to do about them. And one of the things I just wanted to say is, because NASA is the government, things move on such archaic timescales. And, and we are entering a day where, like Ed said, it's affordable for people to do the stuff on their own and not wait for the government. And I can say this kind of thing now that I'm retired, you know, so. So, for an example is the Atlas telescope, you guys were talking about mapping, there's a telescope that's being built in by the University of Hawaii. And they needed a matching telescope in the southern hemisphere, kind of 180 degrees around from Hawaii, which happened to be South Africa. And that took me to South Africa in 2013 to try and help negotiate a twin site for the Atlas telescope, which would survey the sky every night and look for asteroids that were inbound, but it wouldn't look very deep. So we'd only only tell you that spotted them if they were like a month or two out. So that's, that's problematic as the rest of you guys can, can understand. But just now. So that was in 2013. Just now, that second telescope will be sited. The dome is built the pedestals up, and the the second telescope will go in, in early 22. And that just is an indication of how freakin slow anything that has to do with the government is, so I'm terribly excited, not what two things I'm terribly excited about the fact that as Ted said, the cost of launch is going down technologies miniaturizing things, we understand better how to move data around in space, and maybe even how to do onboard processing. That's fantastic. And, and, you know, the idea of putting a telescope maybe not lagging the Earth in its orbit, but actually in closer to the sun, like maybe in the same orbit as Venus, that's starting to make a lot of sense. NASA is finally what they're getting around to the Dart mission and Neo surveyor. Those are two missions that could help with our understanding of the threat of asteroids. So I think things are moving along pretty quickly. And the second thing I wanted to say, and then John, I'll give you back to Mike, is that it wouldn't be without people, like be 612, like rusty, who just would not relent. It wouldn't be without those kinds of that kind of pressure for the government, to to move forward on these sorts of things, because they they span presidential administrations, they take long periods of time, and they get, sometimes they get wiped out with a stroke of a pen, just because I know J, Ws T has an override, you know, or something like that. So it's an incredible, incredibly big service that you guys have done over the years, in terms of keeping up the awareness and that sort of thing. And with that, I'll I'll just say, I'm Jim, and I'm giving it back to Mike.
Yeah, no, thank you, Jim. Danika, can you maybe just reiterate, what is your organization that that you and Ed, run? I know you're the president, CEO, and Ed's Executive Director, and just remind us to the mission, and what's at stake.
Hey, John, this Rosie, and I want to come back to another questions after after Sure.
Love to hear from you. Yeah. So if you could just share the mission. And then we'll we'll go to rusty. But thanks.
Great. Yeah. So basic swell was founded 18 years ago by Ed and rusty and Pete hot, and Clark Chapman, and Jeff bear, a VC in Silicon Valley. And we're dedicated to protecting the asteroid impacts. And we do that through science and technology. Like we're talking about the atom map, that we're in the process of building the asteroid discovery, analysis and mapping platform, as well as educational programs like asteroid day. And we're a small, dedicated organization, very passionate about the problem that we're trying to solve. And to Jim's point, and rusty have been at this and talking about it for 18 years, I'm here on my eighth year with the organization. And, you know, we have a small operating budget of under $2 million a year. And we're actually trying to raise money to get us to firstlight to underwrite our software development activities, or Adam platform. And so for the first time, we're actually going to offer naming opportunity to the engine that'll drive that map for donor that comes up with the bulk of what our financial need is to get the first light which is $6 million. So that's about two and a half million dollars a year that we're looking for. And so we're just now embarking upon talking to folks about, you know, what it means both to build a map is so eloquent with about the history and the future of what a four dimensional map might be for humanity, both from a planetary defense perspective and a moving out into our solar system perspective. And we're a distributed distributed organization, we're distributed by design. So COVID didn't really have an impact on us, other than a lot of our families were obviously impacted. And we work very closely with the University of Washington, Washington's direct center, data intensive and astrophysics and cosmology group. And we are, you know, really, really focused on you know, what can be said We do in service of this planetary defense mission which we have been on for, you know, 1819 years now. And, you know, we think we have a good answer, in addition to all the advocacy work that Adam rusty and the organization has been doing for the last 18 years. So that's us. Small and dedicated, Never doubt that a small group of dedicated citizens can change the world as Margaret Mead once said,
yes, no well put rusty you and saying you want to respond to and again, thank you for your leadership over a year over 25 For the last few years.
Over 25 work on
yours, I was being funny.
But hey, look I for for moderating John, and a couple of questions, one, frankly, easy and direct answer to Todd, who asks about, you know, we understand to body dynamics and space, but as soon as you get to three body or in body, it gets very complicated and chaotic. Absolutely true. And that is exactly why discover these asteroids. And then, forever know it, we only monitor and make sure that they have not been perturbed by coming closer to some other bodies, on their, you know, when they're out far in the solar system, going through the asteroid belt, the main asteroid belt, or even out, perturbed by deeper bodies. So we do have, the equations are worked out. Once we do determine an orbit for an asteroid, we do account the effects of all of the inner planets, and Jupiter and Saturn. And the I think it's the four largest other series now only in terms determination, but we do need to track them and make sure that there isn't that close to something have a significant but I what I really want to comment on is Iran initial question about, you know, what does space travel look like in the future? That was my understanding after years of working and thinking about all of this stuff, of the response of the shared global responsibility that we we writ large as earthlife have. I'll answer the simple version first. In terms of what I see in terms of the future of space travel. I think Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos has done some good work too. I hope he does better work and in the, in the near future. Basis is sort of picked up the Jerry O'Neill Space Colony concept as a future habitat, feature and viral environment for human evolution and development. Elon Musk looks more at the surface of things like Mars. And I think both of those are good ideas, we will be moving out into space, I think there's no question that the future evolution of life it's a little bit like I often, I often compare it with human birth. You know, the fetus is totally taken care of by the mother, while it's while a fetus is inside. And we're from Apollo eight through 11 or so, you know, we went out the birth canal of Mother Earth for the first time. And it's only after birth, that the full potential of the child is at hand. And in that process of moving out and achieving a full potential of life, a child begins to love the mother. The mother has taken care of the child as a fetus. It's all a one way deal. But once birth occurs, then the appreciation of the mother and what mother really is and has done and the two way flow of love sets in. And I think that that's in a sense what began With the Apollo, that's what Apollo was. Apollo was the beginning of humanity, life on Earth, Earth life moving out into the larger cosmos. And it's not the old cowboy mentality of we trash this one, let's get on with the next one. It's it's the birth analogy of after birth, we begin to really love Mother Earth. But we will continue and our full potential will be in the long term future out into space. That's what in fact, I believe will be happening, and what we've been talking about today.
Step because what we've done is we've recognized and understood that there is an existential threat to life on our little corner in our little corner of the universe here, this is an existential threat, it doesn't happen very often. Nevertheless, it is real. And yet we have developed a technology where we can begin to reshape ever so slightly, doesn't take much, but we're literally reshaping the solar system, using our technology, to ensure the continued evolution of life, out of our little corner of the universe, I have no doubt that there's other life out there. I mean, we we are not the only place where life has emerged in this huge cosmos. I don't know if we'll ever make contact with it or not, I hope so at some point in the future. But I think we have, and what we've learned is that we have a responsibility. We are life, we have emerged out of the out of the incredible natural law of the universe. And we are responsible for where this evolution heads in the future. We're at where sort of, again, the birth process, life and death are extremely close at that moment of birth, at moving out the birth canal. That's where we are. And it's not at all clear that we're going to be among the communities out there who have made it to realize their full potential. But I think that's where the responsibility lies for all of us. And I think that it's a wonderful Danik and others have had a chance to actually address a component of that, namely, protecting life on Earth from this threat of asteroid impacts.
Great. Thank you, Rusty, well put. So this is imagination, action. You know, Nike was just do it. Ted is ideas worth spreading. We think these times need imagination and action. And we're proud to have these six Imaginators. What I'd like to do with the remaining time is ask the six Imaginators. Do you have any questions for one another, you guys know each other, you finish each other sentences you work together, you're in meetings together, you're plotting a course to you know, protect the planet, save the planet, you're figuring out ways to you know, understand what's at stake, and how to communicate that to the rest of the world. What questions you have for one another, and then at tradition on the show is Allison does a summary at the very end. And we're looking forward to that. And I look at the analytics of the people that listen to the recordings. A lot of people fast forward to the to that, you know, understand what just happened. I also want to point out that Paul Davidson, the CEO and founder or co founder of clubhouse was in much of the show today. So you have a lot of interesting people in the audience. And, you know, who knows, maybe there'll be some other people wanting to help support your efforts. Danna can add and, and maybe someone will give the naming right. You know, fun, the fun one of those naming opportunities, who listens to this live or, as we posted a few minutes after the show. So imagining what questions you have for one another.
I'm gonna I'm going to start thank you for really giving us this opportunity to talk about our favorite subject. You know, the newest person who's on the call with us right now, actually is Steve and so I would, I'd love to know what you know, Steve's questions are or, or thoughts after having listened through all of our discussions, Steve?
Yeah, thanks, Danika. And again, you know, my experience was really amplified walking through Meteor crater last month. So again, thank you for that eye opening experience. It really brought it home and the words of our other panelists today have really brought that home. My question would be to Ed and rusty and that's, you know, what can our listeners who are, you know, interested in what you've said today and our futures have said today? What what can they do themselves in the coming weeks and months to help us out?
Well, I can start with that. The thing I always tell people is go out and tell 1000 other people about it. The fact that human beings can actually tackle a problem like this, if you think about it, you know, it really is big, right? It's bigger than the Earth. And I find that inspiring, I find it inspiring that human beings both can work this out. On a technical level, we can build things, we can cooperate, we can do this. And we're realistically we have a plan to do this. And I find that amazing. So, you know, if my advice use go tell 1000 people?
I don't I don't have I don't have any better answer. I mean, it's always an interesting question. My, I guess my component of it, because I did so much work on this, while I headed the basics well, before, you know, it took over and Danica, I did a lot of work at the United Nations on the geopolitical side of it, as you have picked up, I'm sure in the conversation. And ultimately, as all of us really appreciate, again, from this COVID experience. Ultimately, people have to hold there, they have to do two things simultaneously. And they appear to be opposite, but they're not. They have to hold they have to help their elected representatives, to be responsible to face issues to solve to deal with issues and not to simply avoid them. They have to help their elected officials. And they also have to demand that their elected officials be responsible, they have to light a fire under him sometimes. But occasionally, these things take a very courageous political position require taking a very difficult political position. In the one that we've been talking about, ultimately, when we do end up deflecting the first asteroid, you know, that impact point is going to be dragged through six countries that were not initially threatened by the original impact, to eliminate the impact entirely mean, what that's what you're doing, you're you're temporarily accepting an increased risk, in order that the risk is eliminated for everyone on the planet, that's going to take a courageous political decision. That's not going to happen unless people, the public understand the issue. It's involved in it. And hence, we formed asteroid day that that was a the public education aspect of this is extremely important in order to hold and to help our political leaders, when the decision time comes. So for my my wrinkle on the education aspect, is that people need to understand this to a certain, you know, not the technical, the deep technical details, but they need to understand it in general, so that they're, they can help their political leadership and dealing with with the decisions that will have to be made.
That's great, Rusty. Yeah. And I would, I would just add, that, you know, of course, support to B612 b612foundation.org, where, you know, always grateful for any support from the public. But to ADS thing about telling, you know, 1000 people that's part of what asteroid day is rescue is just saying is about is about educating folks. And so one of the other things that the public can do is actually host your on asteroid Day event. We've got tons of tools on how to do that on the website so that people can become their own asteroid storytellers. Whether or not they want to talk about it from a planetary defense perspective, or a science perspective, or from
gives that URL that I could give ya,
asteroid day.org. So the two URLs are asteroid day.org, and lots of you know, tools on how you can host your own event and great videos that we've produced over the last eight years rusty and Ed frequently in them. So it's a great learning resource or the public about asteroids, and then B 612 Foundation, which is B 612 foundation.org. So, hope that answers your question, Steve.
thank you, Danny.
Yeah. Does anyone else have a question? Before we go to Alison?
Hi, there. Hey, Aidan. Hi, guys. This is Caroline Hayden's mom We've really been enjoying tuning in, he didn't find this difficult, you know, without face to face contact. But he just wanted me to ask the panel as the future of future asteroid exploration, there's still a lot of emphasis whenever you talk about future space missions, you know, going back to the moon forward to Mars. But whenever Hayden said to me recently that they're on a TV show, when I, when I asked the question about one day, he would love to be part of a crew, you know, that could be going to an asteroid for exploration, there's still a lot of eyebrows raised whenever you mentioned this. But it's something that is not impossible for the future. So Hayden, is very excited about this. And he just wants to know, your thoughts about this, you know, with education? You know, how do we expand this, you know, you know, an education as well as protecting Earth from asteroids, about the future of going to an asteroid as part of crazy.
Hmm. I think I think it's happening. I think attitudes are changing. And I think it's because space is becoming more accessible, and accessible in the sense that, you know, it doesn't necessarily take a giant government organization to do things anymore. As we are seeing happening right now. In fact, arguably, some of the organizations that are pushing the the technology and capabilities right now, the most are private organizations. Not entirely, but but but certainly, it's a big difference right now. And if this happens, more and more, I think people are going to see that they can take part in it too. And and I hope that happens, you know, both from you know, we had a question about humans. Spaceflight, I think it's going to become more common, I hope it becomes more common, because I think, as Steve mentioned, it's a, it's a great perspective to get to see with your own eyes. And I am very, very hopeful that this trend is going to continue. And that, that people will be able to develop space for whatever the reasons may be. But we're gonna see more and more of this.
Great, thank you. So before we hear from Alison, let's just go around closing comments, Steve, damn something just top of mind real quick.
You bet. It's a serious problem. And as Ed said, it could be completed by private people that to me, that's just astounding. It's such a big challenge. So many thanks to all of you, participants.
Great. Thank you, Steve. Ed, thank you for your leadership. And you know, when I use Google Maps, I think of you when I think of, of astronauts that live on the International Space Station and space shuttle and fly with the Russians, I think of you what's on your mind, what's your closing comments? First, just
want to thank you for having us on. And I want to just leave people with the thought that this is all real doable, doable by a small number of people, as Danica mentioned. So if you want to be part of it with us, reach out to us, please.
Yeah, not everyone can be an astronaut. But a lot of people can help save the planet. And joining your group is one way to do it. Love it. Peter, you know you, you're probably one of the most sought after futurists. Thank you for spending time with us and helping to validate this conversation. What's on your mind on this topic? What's the closing comment you want to make?
Let me just add my thanks for great conversation. I think the reality is that the Space Age has finally begun, it was kind of just warming up. In the early days learning how to begin to operate the space. Now we have a real challenge, a real opportunity and the real means to actually launch what I think the real space age.
Great. Rusty, thank you for your early days in the Apollo mission, and thank you for your constant leadership and your comments tonight. What's on your mind that you'd like to share? At this point?
I would just suggest that you know, those quiet times late at night when you're falling asleep and thinking think big. Realize that we are literally together the life in this little corner of the universe and how it evolves from here in the long in the distant future is going to be determined by us and our actions. That that's what we're all about. And I think that's a great responsibility that all of us share together. Thanks.
Great, Danica. And then did I get Ronnie or I guess Rodney Meade peeled off, Danica, what's your closing comment?
My closing comment is I wanted to thank Hayden and his mom for staying up so late over there in Ireland to listen to this conversation. And I would say that, you know, the future belongs to Hayden's generation. And Hayden is a great example. He's actually one of our is our asteroid day ambassador to his generation. And so, you know, the future really does belong to the children and, and we, as the parents need to provide them the tools to take care of our home planet. And that's what we're doing in the way that we know how to do it here at 612.
Wow, that's great. Yeah, boots on the ground on Mars may be walking on this planet right now. So Allison, you know, you you do such a nice job weaving comments together from from our shows, what do you have?
Oh, my gosh. That's amazing session took us so far out into the galaxy. as John pointed out, it's our 47th Show. Somehow asteroids seems appropriate at the 47th show. It was six amazing Imaginators Danica, Steve, Ed, Peter, Rusty and Rodney. But Caroline started us off, and I think it's an interesting moment to note time. She started us off with two wonderful JS Bach compositions. He was born in 1685. That was 116 years before the first asteroid was discovered in 1801 series. I think we went so far and covered so many topics, we started with John's excellent question on what is an asteroid, I think we decided or we agreed that it was an amazing multi faceted celestial object, but so many parts to that it serves a role in understanding the history of our solar system. It brought us the seeds of life on our planet, including the source of water. They have incredible destructive capabilities and wiped out dinosaurs. They are leftover rocks from creation of the solar system. And they also offer natural rich ore bodies, which could provide potentially all kinds of resources in space. Then Dhammika talked about three different ways to prevent an asteroid from taking us out. The first is a double Asteroid Redirect sort of kinetic impact. The second would be gravity tracking using gravity to tow an asteroid. And the third would be nuclear devices using the energy from an explosion to bump an asteroid. The first two are preferable, but only possible with enough advanced warning. So that lead Danica to point out we really need to accelerate asteroid discoveries. And luckily, we're doing so it sounds like we know about 28,000 New Earth near earth asteroids. And we find about 2000 new near earth asteroids every year. So those come right now from two telescopes, and Arizona and Hawaii. And there are many more telescopes on the way. So we're soon going to be able to map our asteroid, neighbors much more carefully, and talked about the dark mission that's launching in one month, which will be the first actual test of unintentional changing of the path of an asteroid which just feels like some kind of marker in the Anthropocene era. It's changing evolution on a grand scale to protect what he called the Third Rock from the Sun, that's us. And he said, it's critical that we get an inventory of where the asteroids are and where they are going. So not just where there are today, but where they're heading. Peter Schwartz talked about the fact that asteroids are one of two big things that have changed the future of the world and of space. He talked about being an astronaut groupie, I'm sure that's a large group talked about the fact that the cost of flying in space is dropping so quickly. When we change from boosters actually coming back to space he pointed out, our former system used to be equivalent of throwing away an airliner after each flight. So this new reusable booster approach makes space tourism possible. And he also said that asteroids have given us a new sense of purpose. We can imagine habitations based colonies mining and all kinds of other roles that asteroids could play. We talked about and and Dhammika shared a lot about B 612. A small dedicated group founded by Ed and Rusty 18 years ago It's the only NGO dedicated to protecting the planet from asteroid impacts. Dannic as the president of the B, six 612 Foundation, and also the co founder of asteroid day, which is in its eighth year, she talked about how we're now able to take samples from asteroids. And we're just starting to know, learn and teach how to protect ourselves, but also to relate to asteroids. She talked about all the great missions that are just starting to go out into space, and describe this as a decade of asteroid exploration. Rusty talked about the fact that this is a global problem that can be solved, unlike some of the others on the to do list. He talked about how the spatial technology around deflection and detection is actually manageable. So if an asteroid is small enough, we can just evacuate and we don't have to deal with it. But some of the larger ones we need advanced notice of he said, the really tricky issue here is the geopolitical challenge. And he described that as a challenge like no other. He had a wonderful analogy, analogies that it's like taking a ticking time bomb to a disposal site 1000 miles away, and traveling through many cities on the way. So getting all the cities and countries that are in the course to agree is no easy challenge. Rusty talked about the the original asteroid explosion that did wipe out the dinosaurs. He said, It was a seven mile asteroid 11 kilometers in diameter object, a one and 100 million year event that made me sleep a little bit better knowing that, but he talked about the kinetic effects from that you get the huge energy release a tsunami, but also a billion tons of Earth thrown out of the crater comes flying into space and down through the atmosphere, making the whole environment around the Earth flashing into flames, causing smoke and a nuclear winter. He said 70% of all species died. So I think the stakes here are pretty real.
The Imaginators talked about the fact that this is a small investment required with very large returns. So he described it as real and doable. John reminded us not everyone can be an astronaut today. But all of us can play a role and private citizens and the sector can help here. So right now, 1/10 of 1% of NASA's budget goes to dealing with asteroids, although that's a really high priority for many citizens. So finally, we had powerful last words from a number of our Imaginators Jim Adams talked about, he's the former NASA Deputy Director of planetary science, he talked about the fact that technology is miniaturizing. The cost of launch is decreasing, the quality of telescopes is improving. And he reminds us of how important the individual Imaginators on this call have been to not only raise this issue, but to keep up attention through all kinds of different administrations and presidents in in it in a NASA organization that's often quite stretched. Peter reminded us that the real space age has finally begun. And we have both the means and the opportunities to really explore our space neighbors. Rusty reminded us that it's important to think big, he said we are life in the small part of the universe and how it evolves is up to us. He said we have a responsibility. We are life we emerged out of natural law of the universe. And we're responsible for where evolution takes this universe. And finally Danica reminded us that there are two wonderful resources asteroid de.org B 612 foundation.org. And she reminded us that the future belongs to Hayden's generation. John called it the generation that will give us boots on the ground in Mars. Thank you all
amazing, Alison, thank you
great well you know you guys are like I said the Teen Titans are x the Superfriends or the X X Men protecting the planet and I hope in a small way this two hour and 14 minutes show can help raise awareness and and that you'll share the show with others and you could pull out audio grams of what was discussed and you'll have the transcript. But But thank you for the work that you do. And thank you for the over a decade of of leading and here's to your best ahead and in saving our species from an existential threat and our planet is not just a species, there's a lot of living life that you're going to protect in the process. So to all Good night