Humanity’s ability for planetary defence is necessary, Danos tells CNA following NASA’s DART mission

Humanity’s ability for planetary defence against an asteroid impact is extremely necessary, George Danos, President of the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO), told CNA.


In the morning hours of Tuesday, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – the world’s first planetary defence technology demonstration – successfully impacted its asteroid target Dimorphos, 11 million kilometers away from Earth.


“It’s an extremely important mission, for the first time humanity has a planetary defense so we don’t have the same fate as the dinosaurs who became extinct 65 million years ago after an asteroid impact. Today, for the first time, humanity has a new ‘weapon’ should any asteroid ever threaten our planet,” he stressed.


The mission, Danos said, was crowned with success, but whether the shift of its orbit is satisfactory, will be known in the coming months since a number of measurements from ground-based telescopes is necessary.


He noted that our planet was threatened many times in the past, not only during the dinosaur time but also more recently and gave the examples of Siberia in 1908 when an asteroid destroyed 1000 sq km of forest, the asteroid explosion over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013 which caused injuries and damage but also the theory that the biblical city of Jericho was destroyed by an asteroid.


“So, we have recorded historical events and we must now have the ability to prevent destruction if necessary because I am sure that in the medium term this ability will be extremely important,” he told CNA.


He said that although CSEO announced a few years ago that it would take part in this mission, this was not possible due to the funding that was needed. Back then, he said, the CSEO was in its early stages and didn’t have the potential it has today.


Danos noted that CSEO has joined other programmes and missions like the one concerning the measurement of the age of the rocks on Mars.


“The future is bright for Cyprus and our organisation, which participates in many missions that we will announce at a later stage”, he concluded.


Source: Cyprus News Agency