Rusty Schweickart - Deflecting an Asteroid





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Uploaded on Mar 10, 2011

Another lecture in IHMC's award winning lecture series. http://www.ihmc.us

The history of asteroid impacts goes back 4.5 billion years and they are the source of the enabling materials of life, but also the bringer of destruction. Now, for the first time, we can, with the help of our machines, stop these very infrequent but inexorable impacts. The technical elements of this audacious claim are fascinating and I will summarize them in the presentation. More challenging still, however, are the geopolitical aspects of the task, albeit these are a bit boring. I'll quickly summarize this aspect. Finally I'll discuss the implications of this emerging capability and reflect, with the audience, on where we're heading with this intrusion into the natural evolutionary order.
Russell L. (Rusty) Schweickart is a retired astronaut and business and government executive and serves today as Chairman of the Board of the B612 Foundation, a non-profit private that champions the development and testing of a spaceflight concept to protect the Earth from future asteroid impacts. Schweickart was formerly the Executive Vice President of CTA Commercial Systems, Inc. and Director of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Systems. Schweickart's satellite and telecommunications work involved him in the development of international communications regulations and policies, including participation in the 1992 and 1995 World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRC) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). He served at the 1995 WRC as a U.S. delegate. He also worked extensively in Russia and the former Soviet Union on scientific and telecommunications matters.
Schweickart is the founder and past president of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), the international professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts that promotes the cooperative exploration and development of space and the use of space technology for human benefit. In 1987-88, Schweickart chaired the United States Antarctic Program Safety Review Panel for the Director of the National Science Foundation. The resulting report, Safety in Antarctica, a comprehensive on-site review of all U.S. activities in Antarctica, led to a restructuring of the program, increasing the safety of operations in that hazardous environment.
Schweickart joined NASA as one of 14 astronauts named in October 1963, the third group of astronauts selected. He served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 9, March 3-13, 1969, logging 241 hours in space. During a 46 minute EVA Schweickart tested the portable life support backpack which was subsequently used on the lunar surface explorations. Schweickart served as backup commander for the first Skylab mission which flew in the Spring of 1973. Prior to joining NASA, Schweickart was a research scientist at the Experimental Astronomy Laboratory at MIT. Schweickart has also served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and has logged over 4000 hours of flight time, including 3500 hours in high performance jet aircraft. Schweickart was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1969) and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale De La Vaux Medal (1970) for his Apollo 9 flight. He also received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Special Trustees Award (Emmy) in 1969 for transmitting the first live TV pictures from space. In 1973 Schweickart was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his leadership role in the Skylab rescue efforts. He is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society and the International Academy of Astronautics, and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Schweickart is an Honorary Trustee and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.

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