*Image from here ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r2E3vo72P4

Marjan Minnesma from Holland is visiting Australia at present, telling all who will listen how ~ “900 citizens were involved in the class action lawsuit, arguing that the state had a duty of care to protect its people from the harmful consequences of global warming. The court agreed, ordering the government to increase its target for reducing emissions from up to 17 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, to 25 per cent.” [1]

Could space advocates learn from this groundbreaking Dutch action and argue in court that governments have a duty of care to protect the people of Earth from killer asteroids?

If the small asteroid flying over Russia in 2013 had been just a little closer to the ground when it exploded, there would have been thousands killed and a city destroyed. [2]

An asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908 flattened 80 million trees and there is the case of the large meteor that kissed the Earth 66 million years ago, which is believed to have ended the reign of the dinosaurs.

We need only look at the heavily cratered surface of the Moon, to see how many asteroids have struck the Earth.

There is a popular T-shirt statement that states ~ “Asteroids are Nature’s way of asking: How’s that space program coming along?” [3]

There is quite a graphic YouTube film of what could happen if a large asteroid found its way to Earth. [4]

This is possible and unpredictable, as asteroids run into each other quite often, sending both asteroids and their fragments onto new orbits.

With as many planets between the stars as there are in orbit, a threat to Earth could come from deep space, attracted by the gravity of the Sun.

With a threat from space that is quite real, could space advocates follow the Dutch example and go to court, seeking direction for action, “arguing that the state had a duty of care to protect its people from the harmful consequences” of an asteroid strike that could bring humans to a swift end.

Fortunately, we now have the ability to lift our game and build beyond Earth, if we found the will to act.

If we looked up and saw a monster rock from space heading for Earth and had ten years to prepare, it is all too predictable that humankind would unite and rise to the challenge.

At present, we would be lucky to get ten days warning about a planet killer with our name on it, especially if it came in from the far side of the Sun.

Why wait for death to catch us, when we can invest in health insurance for the Earth and for life from Earth.

The direct path to planet defence is to build solar power stations in space, so that industry can be launched beyond Earth and press on to the building of our planet’s defence.

Should an asteroid be too large to deal with, by nudging aside, or mining into oblivion, we would at least be in a position to save the human race and life, by building settlements in space.

With all our eggs in one Earthly nest, we are sitting ducks in the great game of cosmic billiards.

With settlements in space, we would be able to move out of the way if a killer asteroid arrives.

Trapped on Earth, we are as helpless as a beached whale.

How is that space program coming along?


[1] ‘Interview: Marjan Minnesma, Director of Urgenda’
Marjan Minnesma interviewed by Emma Alberici
Lateline 18 Jul 2015 ABC News Online

[2] ‘Defending Earth from Space’
Kim Peart, 1 April 2013, Tasmanian Times

[3] Off World Designs

[4] ‘How’s that space program coming along’
Ilker Yoldas, 29 April 2014, YouTube