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Webcast: Could Man’s Future in Space Be the Key to Defeat the Deadly Pessimism of Empire?

Helga Zepp LaRouche opened today’s webcast by discussing “bright spots” in the strategic situation, coming from the diplomacy at the G20 summit and the Trump-Kim DMZ meeting. Yet the potential which is emerging to break from the unipolar world of geopolitics is threatened by the enemy of mankind, the British Empire, which is engaged in military provocations, against Iran and China, but more significantly, through its role in spreading pessimism about the future, through the imposition of anti-human Green ideology.

As the West is destroying itself, Asia is rising, and a key feature of Asia’s emergence is the emphasis on space exploration. China and India are both engaged in lunar projects, and Trump’s intent for the U.S. to be back on the Moon by 2024, defines a potential for broad scientific cooperation. This is the antidote to the pessimism of “limits to growth”, etc., around which the Green movement was launched—human creativity can always open new horizons, she emphasized, as Krafft Ehricke emphasized, with his visionary idea of the “extraterrestrial imperative”, and Lyndon LaRouche demonstrated in his writings.

We can use the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing to bring renewed optimism to people, something which is greatly feared by the neo-liberal imperial networks centered in London.


Schiller Institute Invited to 2nd Wanshou Dialogue for Global Security

by Ulf Sandmark, ulf.sandmark@nysol.se

Because of the disorder in international relations many new formats for discussion and dialogue are developed to figure out what to do about the dangerous world security situation. The Wanshou Dialogue for Global Security was started last year by the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament, which is an organization founded in 1985 and is by far the largest civil society organization in China dedicated to Peace. It has a membership of 25 mass organizations in China and maintains contact with 350 international peace organization and institutes for strategic studies.

The Wanshou Dialogue is organized in coordination with the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee whose Minister Song Tao and Vice Minister Wang Yajun were the highest Chinese representatives in the Dialogue. There were 27 International guests and 23 Chinese participants in the Dialogue which had the form a closed round table discussion.

The opportunity to participate in this very prestigious conference about Global Security came out of the blue, as a side effect of the activities of the Swedish Schiller Institute to promote BRI in Sweden. It was a great opportunity to meet and become friends with leaders of top Think Tanks in many important countries. Only a few of them had met or knew of the International Schiller Institute on other occasions.

Ulf Sandmark presents the Schiller Institute's report, The New Silk Road Becomes the World Landbridge II to Yu Hongjun, Vice-President of the Chinese people´s Association for Peace and Disarmament and Former Vice-Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee

Ulf Sandmark presents the Schiller Institute’s report, The New Silk Road Becomes the World Landbridge II to Yu Hongjun, Vice-President of the Chinese people´s Association for Peace and Disarmament and Former Vice-Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee

The Schiller Institute expertise was called upon to contribute to the Panel 3 about “Emerging and New Technologies and Global Security.” Among those technologies are ABM, ASAT, UAV, Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence. Here several speakers warned against the militarization of space and the plan from President Trump to unilaterally deploy space weapons. It was an opportunity to bring those technologies that could uplift the dialogue to a level where the Common Aims of Mankind would show the way out of the disastrous global security dilemmas.

Lyndon LaRouche’s Strategic Defense Initiative and the Strategic Defense of Earth were the obvious starting points for this intervention by the Schiller Institute and then also Space Exploration and Fusion Power development that would make it possible for a policy of Global Raw Materials Security. Also, the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative was brought in from the physical economic standpoint of developing a new infrastructure platform as a new international logistics machine. This made it possible to link up the development of the economy as a stabilizer of the Global Security and to bring in the Four Laws of LaRouche as the absolute strategic necessity to be implemented through a Four Powers agreement for a New Bretton Woods.

The Russia-India-China cooperation was brought into the Dialogue by a Russian scholar as the s.c. RIC-format (as in BRICS). Also, at the G20 meeting President Trump had had meetings individually with the other three leaders who also had their special RIC meeting on their own. These developments opened up for launching the Four Power proposal at the Wanshou Dialogue, which is to ask President Trump to join the leaders of the RIC Powers to form a group strong enough to challenge the currently dominating financial power of London and Wall Street which under its leadership of the modern form of the British empire is the force behind the disastrous policy geopolitical wars bringing the world to brink of nuclear war. Finally, the necessity for the immediate global security to bring into the international strategic discussion these strategic proposals by Lyndon LaRouche, made the call for his exoneration appropriate to bring into the 2nd Wanshou Dialogue.

This ten minute presentation was well received. Another participant responded about SDI in a very positive way and asked if the SDI negotiations could move out of the US – Russian format and also bring in other powers. Ulf Sandmark got the opportunity for a very short reply saying that the first step would be to immediately start the process for implementing the SDE, as it it is civilian and can build trust. Secondly the SDI proposal should be studied and updated by all leading powers in the world. Thirdly a fully implementable counterproposal should be proposed to President Trump as an alternative to his proposal for a Space Force.

Sandmark said that SDI was developed by Lyndon LaRouche and further promoted by the Schiller Institute. If we as private institute could develop the SDI proposal, then any other institute, certainly leading national security organizations, would be able to fully develop the concepts necessary to bring forward the SDI as a solution to eliminate the danger of nuclear extinction.

Also, this intervention was received well. The Chinese chairman of the panel half jokingly introduced the need for an “SDF” – a Strategic Defense of Face. He took up the example of a recent video where the face of President Trump had been manipulated and put into a video saying that he was immediately attacking Iran. These types of videos, although false, could if they were spread, trigger a real war, the chairman said. This warning against the new technologies that could be used in this way, had the effect to further familiarize the conference with the concepts of SDI, which then became a reference point in the later discussions.

The 2nd Wanshou Dialogue brought up many other questions and concerns for evaluation among the participants and for sure will continue to be a platform for discussion about Peace and Development also in the future.


Webcast—Brits Panic grows; Will Trump’s Missile Defense Plan Become LaRouche and Reagan’s SDI?

While one of the Empire’s favorite leak sheets, Buzzfeed, exposed itself with its latest lying story targeting President Trump, he opened the prospect that LaRouche’s design for the SDI might be back on the agenda. And while May and Macron continue in their vain attempts to prop up the collapsing neo-liberal model, the Italians continue to forge ahead.

This week’s Schiller Institute’s webcast with Helga Zepp LaRouche presents an optimistic perspective on what it will take to finish off the era of British imperial geopolitics.


Webcast—The Underlying Positive World Dynamic the British Empire is Trying to Hide from You

Listening to the Western news media, you would think the world is all chaos, no ordering principle whatsoever. However, stepping back and putting U.S. and European ‘current events’ in context of what’s occurring worldwide, it is easier to see what’s going on in the West is an establishment reaction to the positive forces of change shaping up across the globe. Xi-Kim talks are moving forward, foreshadowing a possible second Trump-Kim summit, potential progress in U.S.-China trade talks, Trump decision to pull U.S. out of Syria, in conjunction with Astana process, China’s successful Chang’e 4 landing on the far side of the Moon, and more.

Hear Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and Harley Schlanger discuss all the things the media is trying to hide from you!


China Is Preparing for Manned Missions to the Moon

Jan. 27 -In 1971, the Apollo 15 crew left a retro-reflector on the Moon. It is a passive instrument, and just reflects laser pulses from Earth back to Earth. The time–very precisely measured–of he return pulse, indicates the distance between Earth and its nearest neighbor. In all, three reflectors were left on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions, and one by the Soviet Lunokhod 2 over. They are still used by scientists for research in astrodynamics, Earth-Moon system dynamics (the Moon is slowly moving away from the Earth), and lunar physics. The technique is called Lunar aser Ranging (LLR), and now Chinese scientists are using the Apollo 15 reflector for LLR experiments, in preparation for their future missions to land astronauts on the Moon.

On Jan. 22, Xinhua reported yesterday, an applied astronomy group at the Yunnan Observatories in Kunming carried out China’s first Lunar Laser Ranging experiment, to obtain precise measurments of he distance between the Earth and the Moon.

While it was an interesting scientific experiment, the technique also has important practical applications. Landing an unmanned vehicle on the Moon requires using detailed orbital photographs to define a safe and interesting general landing region, where the engineers aim the lander. For a robotic spacecraft, the landing ellipse can be a relatively wide area to aim for. But or a manned mission, a more precise targetting is preferable. China can now use the laser ranging technique for its manned lunar program.

Until now, only the U.S., France, and Italy have successfully deployed laser ranging technology. It is reported that on a future mission, China will place its own retro-reflector on the Moon.

Chinese scientists are also studying the human factor itself, and technology to support crew on the Moon. Chinese student volunteers have just completed 200 days in Beihang University’s “Lunar Palace.” The two men and two women are biomedicine students and are the second group to work in the simulated space lab. A main capability needed to live off Earth is regenerative life-support ystems, where waste is recycled, and in the advanced phase, virtaully no materials have to be suppplied from the outside. The “mission” also entailed study of the social interactions and sychological condtion of the crew.

Chief designer Liu Hong said that her team would apply to have a mini-life support system on a lunar or Martian probe, with another system as a ground control. NASA and its partners have used the International Space Station to test closed-cycle life support systems, and the station itself recycles various waste products to reduce the amount of material that has to be delivered from the ground.


India “Creates History” With Successful Mars Mission

India’s Mission control center for the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) received confirmation that the spacecraft was in Mars orbit at 10:30 PM EDT yesterday, eliciting cheers from the scientists and engineers, and congratulations from Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who witnessed the historic moment with them. This is the first time a fully successful mission to Mars has been carried out on a nation’s first try. It is the first spacecraft launched from Asia that arrived safely at the red planet.

PM Modi described it as a “National Pride Event.”

Referencing the spacecraft’s 650 million-kilometer trip to Mars, Modi said,

“We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination…We have navigated our craft through a route known to very few…The success of our space program is a shining symbol of what we are capable of as a nation…Let us push our boundaries. And then push some more, push more…Let today’s success drive us with even greater vigor and conviction. Let’s set ourselves even more challenging goals—this too must become a basis for challenging the next frontier.”

Modi stated that the mission is

“a leap into the dark. Humanity would not have progressed, if we had not taken such leaps into the unknown. And space is indeed the biggest unknown out there.”

Addressing the scientists directly, the Prime Minister said:

“Every generation of your scientists has groomed the next home-grown lot. Through your achievements, you have honored our fore-fathers, and inspired our future generations! You truly deserve all the love and respect you get from a grateful nation.”

Modi’s remarks yesterday expressed the same optimism and focus on the future of all mankind, that he emphasized in his remarks at the July 15, 2014 BRICS Summit in Brazil, where he said:

“The uniqueness of BRICS as an international institution. For the first time, it brings together a group of nations on the parameter of ‘future potential’, rather than existing prosperity or shared identities. The very idea of BRICS is thus forward- looking… Excellencies, we have an opportunity to define the future of not just our countries, but the world at large…. I take this as a great responsibility.”

Fully cognizant of how the majority of the missions sent to Mars by the U.S., Russia, Europe, and Japan have failed, M. Pitchaimani, deputy director of the control center, told the Washington Post in a telephone interview:

“…this has come after intense study of others’ failures and the reasons for failure, and building our satellite accordingly. We also had gained their accumulated knowledge about the gravity field of the planet, and we built robust instruments based on that data.”

curiosity

NASA’s Curiosity rover sent via Twitter:

Namaste @MOMOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit.”

MOMOrbiter replied,

“Howdy @MarsCuriosity. Keep in touch. I’ll be around.”

MOM

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also extended congratulations:

“This is the pride of India and the pride of Asia, and is a landmark progress in humankind’s exploration of outer space so we congratulate India on that.”

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission has now met its primary mission objective, which is as a technology demonstrator, to successfully orbit Mars. It is also expected to collect scientific measurements during its orbital mission. NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft arrived at Mars three days ago, and scientists from both projects have discussed sharing the data that each spacecraft will send back to Earth.


Planetary Defense: Threat Assessment

It is difficult to gain a visceral sense of the immensity of energy involved in an asteroid or comet impact on Earth. Although asteroids and comets can range anywhere from meters to many kilometers in diameter[ref]All sizes of comets or asteroids will be given in the length of the diameter of the object, unless otherwise noted. E.g., a “1 km asteroid” refers to an asteroid with a diameter of 1 km across.[/ref] (imagine Mt. Everest falling from the sky!), the actual effect of an impact is greatly enhanced by the enormous speeds involved. The total kinetic energy released in such a collision is the product of the mass of the impactor multiplied by the square of the velocity, and the impact speeds range from 10 to 70 km/second, or 20,000 to 150,000 miles per hour![ref]For comparison, a typical passenger jet travels at around 500-600 mph (~250 m/s); the speed of sound (at sea-level) is about 770 mph (343 m/s); and the fastest jet ever flown (unmanned) was NASA’s X-43A scramjet, which reached mach 9.8, which is 7,500 mph or 3.1 km/s.[/ref]

For example, take two notable cases: 1) the impact of an extremely large object, ~10 km, creating the 180 km diameter Chicxulub crater in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, formed around 65 million years ago, which may have helped put an end to the dinosaurs; and 2) the Tunguska event in Siberia, Russia, in 1908, which, though believed to have been caused by a much smaller object, only about 30-50 meters across, resulted in local devastation. These two significant cases will help provide a sense of a range of possible scenarios.

Based on studies of Mexico’s Chicxulub crater, it has been estimated that a roughly 10 km object, hurtling at around 20 km/s (~45,000 mph), slammed into the Earth ~65 million years ago. Though the exact details of the effects are left to models and simulations, we can certainly get an idea of the scale of destruction: mega-tsunamis[ref]Megatsunami is a term used to describe a tsunami that has wave heights which are much larger than normal tsunamis. They originate from a large scale landslide or collision event, rather than from tectonic activity. A recent example is the 1958 Lituya Bay megatsunami, near Alaska, which resulted in a wave hundreds of meters high, the largest known in modern times.[/ref] thousands of meters high; an expanding cloud of boiling dust, vapor, and ash; rock and other surface material ejected out of the atmosphere, raining back down over a huge area, redhot from its atmospheric re-entry; and shock waves that trigger volcanic eruptions and earthquakes around the entire globe.

To give a rough sense of scale, the energy released by such an impact is estimated to be in the range of 100 million megatons of TNT, 20,000 times larger than public estimations of the entire global thermonuclear weapons stockpile (see table I). In addition, besides the immediate effects of collision, an impact this large would launch so much dust and debris into the atmosphere that a dust cloud would cover the entire planet, blocking out the Sun for years: the impact winter, only one of many possible long-term, global effects.

Fortunately, the Chicxulub case represents an extreme, and relatively rare threat. Such large impacts, though more destructive, are much less frequent than smaller impacts. As will be expanded shortly, our neighborhood in the Solar System is populated with many asteroids and comets; however, the frequency of impact by these objects, generally, is inversely proportional to their size. Nevertheless, while a big object, in the range of 1 km or larger, can create massive global damage, even a relatively small object, can cause significant damage.

One often-cited example of an impact thought to be caused by a smaller object is the Tunguska event, in which a sudden explosion leveled roughly 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometers in Siberia, Russia. Though some mystery and debate still surrounds this 1908 case, the most well-supported theory is that the blast was due to a comet or asteroid exploding as it impacted the atmosphere, disintegrating before it could hit the Earth’s surface, and generating a massive blast wave.[ref]Though the Tunguska event drew and has continued to draw intense interest and study, no unambiguous, single impact crater has been found. For example, there is some evidence that it could have been generated by a massive release and explosion of natural gas from underneath the Siberian crust. In any case, we investigate the asteroid-impact theory in this report.[/ref]

Setting aside any lingering debates on the subject, studies have been conducted to determine what size asteroid or comet could have flattened 80 million trees over a region the size of a major metropolitan area. The results of these studies have shown that an object only 30-50 meters across could have generated such a blast wave.[ref]See, Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Peter T. Bobrowsky, Hans Rickman, Springer, Feb 21, 2007 – 546 pages.[/ref]

In order to put the range of threats further into perspective, this table presents a comparison of the levels of energy released from various types of events, both manmade and natural.

Structure and Composition

It is also highly important that we determine the physical composition of the interplanetary bodies. Some of the deeper implications of this will be discussed in the sections on defense options and exploratory missions, but here we must note that not all of these objects are structurally similar. Some are almost solid iron-nickel, some solid rock, while many others are loose piles of smaller objects held together by their gravity (sometimes referred to as flying rubble piles).

The Objects

The next question is, where do these objects come from? Our solar neighborhood is much more populated than you may realize. Here, we concentrate only on two specific classes of objects: near-Earth objects and long-period comets. The classical image of our Solar System, four inner planets, then the asteroid belt, followed by four outer planets, while true, does not present the full picture. As Johannes Kepler indicated, and as Karl Gauss proved, there is a major discontinuity between Mars and Jupiter separating the inner from outer planets, which is the home of the majority of the asteroids in our Solar System. However, in addition to this “main belt” of asteroids, there are other populations of asteroids and comets. Some share Jupiter’s orbit. Some dwell in between Saturn and Uranus. Many populate the area of the inner planets, including around Earth.

The most successful way to further investigations of the ordering of the entire Solar System will be an elaboration of the methodological approach of Kepler and Gauss, the great minds who discovered the ordering of the Solar System. Instead of starting from pairwise interactions, we must investigate the Solar System as a single, harmonic system, taking a top-down view of the orbital systems and subsystems. Ultimately, applying those methodological considerations will be the key to improving our understanding of the orbits, and determining well into the future what bodies may threaten our planet.

Consider, first, a class of objects known as near-Earth objects (NEOs). This class of potentially threatening objects are mostly asteroids, but include some short-period comets.[ref]The comets included in the near-Earth objects grouping (sometimes referred to as short-period comets) have dramatically different orbits than the long-period comets mentioned above. Some of these short-period comets can have orbits that are similar to that of asteroids, and constitute a small part of the total near-Earth object population.[/ref]

The defining character of NEOs is that they orbit the Sun in paths that are either in the same general region as the Earth’s orbit, or can even cross the Earth’s orbit on a regular basis, raising the possibility of a collision with the Earth at some point in the future.

Though not all NEOs pose a threat to the Earth, a large number could. Of these, a number have orbits which come within 0.05 AU of the Earth’s orbit, and are large enough to cause damage to the Earth. These are referred to as potentially hazardous objects (PHOs).[ref]AU stands for astronomical unit, the average distance from the Earth to the Sun. It is used as a standard measure of distance in the Solar System. Also don’t be fooled by the image above, as bodies in the Solar System orbit within a thin volume, not a flat plane. Two orbits that may look like they intersect, when drawn on paper, may not, because one could be above the other.[/ref] This particular class of objects are of great concern for government agencies and scientific organizations all over the world, who have set out to find and track them, in order to identify potential threats, and to give advanced warning time to prepare defensive actions if needed.

Before going into the current estimations of the NEO population, how to observe and track them, as well as defense options, we must first identify a second class of potentially threatening objects, long period comets (LPCs). The orbits of these comets are completely different from those of NEOs. Whereas NEOs spend their entire life in the inner Solar System, long period comets spend the vast majority of their lifetime out in the farthest depths of the Solar System (often well beyond the orbit of Pluto.) The extreme ellipticity of some of these distant creatures can take them on rapid trips through the interior of the Solar System, and possibly across Earth’s orbit.

These create a number of significant problems for defending the Earth. First, the key to planetary defense is early detection. While we have had success in detecting NEOs which populate the inner region of the Solar System, it is basically impossible, with present technology, to see the vast majority of these long period comets when they are farther away. Not only does this dramatically shorten warning times, but, since the majority of these comets take hundreds of thousands of years to complete a single orbit around the Sun (some even take millions of years), we know little to nothing about the nature of the long period comet population. In addition, from what we do know, they are often very large, and can have impact speeds of up to about 70 kilometers per second (over 150,000 mph), significantly greater than asteroids.[ref]Remember that the energy released on impact goes up with the square of the speed. To give one example, the 70 km/second impact speed of a comet, going three and a half times faster than the 20 km/second impact speed of an asteroid of the same size, would deliver over 12 times more energy.[/ref]

Currently, compared to NEOs, we see far fewer long period comets passing our region of the Solar System, so it is expected that their impacts with the Earth are much less frequent. However, they have hit the Earth in the past, and if one were on a future impact trajectory, its great speed, large mass, and undetectability until close to the Earth would make it a particularly dangerous global threat. These are the type of bodies that could eliminate all human civilization with one impact.

There is also reason to believe that the population of long period comets which pass into the interior of the Solar System is not completely random. The current hypothesis is that these long period comets may originate from an extremely distant spherical structure surrounding the Sun, at the farthest reaches of the Solar System, known as the Oort cloud. Presently we do not have the observational capability to see comets that far away (a 10 km object at 10,000 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun is hard to spot), but it is thought that the number of large comets (larger than 1 km) in the Oort cloud is in the range of trillions.

Since they extend so far beyond the Solar System, these comets become sensitive to galactic factors. Other stars coming close to our Solar System can perturb the Oort cloud, changing the orbits of potentially millions of comets. Beside individual influences, at these distances, the gravitational effect of the Sun is less dominant and the general gravitational field of the galaxy begins to have an influence—an effect which varies as the galaxy evolves, and as our Solar System travels through it.

Even though our current scope of understanding regards these galactic processes as having slow, long-term effects, they are the type of considerations that mankind must begin to take into account at this stage. First and foremost, there is still little in the way of solid knowledge about these outer regions of the Solar System, and much less known about our Solar System’s relationship with our galaxy and how those galactic changes affect us here on Earth. There are many theories and models, but as we are reminded by the fact that recent readings from the two 35-year old Voyager spacecraft continue to surprise the scientific community, we cannot assume that we understand these neighboring regions, or the solar-galactic interactions, until we go out and investigate.

If there is some doubt as to why mankind has an imperative to understand our solar and galactic environment, let long period comets draw for us a larger neighborhood.

While our current capability to defend against the threat of long-period comets is limited, the state of our knowledge of near-Earth objects is less uncertain.

Population and Impact Frequency Estimations

Due to their close orbits, near-Earth objects can be observed and tracked with Earth-based and space-based telescopes. Following on a few decades of observation programs, astronomers have developed a significant catalogue of known near-Earth objects. Depending on how well and for how long each individual NEO is observed, computer models can be used to extrapolate each NEO’s orbit and trajectory, years or decades into the future.[ref]Obviously, the more observations of an object we have, and the better those observations are, the better the forecast will be. Still there are certain subtle effects which require greater investigation, such as composition, spin rates, and non-gravitational effects, such as an uneven heating/emission action referred to as the Yarkovsky effect. Moreover, there are questions about the methodology of the computer models themselves: they generally rely on only a few dozen large bodies to model the field through which the others pass.[/ref] These multi-decade extrapolations are crucial, since the key to defense against a potentially threatening asteroid is having as much advanced warning time as possible.

Presently, we are far from having discovered and tracked every NEO, and that must be done. The limited population that has been characterized by current surveys has been used to extrapolate statistical estimations of the expected total NEO populations. For example, in September 2011, a NASA-led team published updated estimations of NEO populations based on the data obtained from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope.

Since then, various estimates continue to be refined as increasing amounts of data from Earth-based telescopic surveys are received. One of the more recent available estimates was released in April of 2012, and presented by the head of NASA’s NEO program, Lindley Johnson, at a May 2012 Workshop on Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.[ref]http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/neo/2011_AG5_LN_intro_wksp.pdf ; April 17, 2012, Alan B. Chamberin (JPL).[/ref]

As is clear in table 2, we have been rather successful in identifying most of the larger NEOs. Of the discovered populations, some fit the specific category of potentially hazardous objects, meaning that their orbits come close to or even directly cross the Earth’s orbit. Currently, 152 of the discovered 850 near-Earth asteroids larger than 1 km are classified as PHOs, although none are expected to collide with Earth over the coming century. This is important, since 1 km is a rough division line between objects which would create truly global effects if they struck the Earth, and objects whose impact would produce a local or regional effect.

Still, this leaves the vast majority of medium and small-sized objects undiscovered: ~80% (over 21,000) of the middle-sized NEOs, ranging from 100 to 1000 meters; and ~99.5% of smaller NEOs, 30-100 meters (recall that the Tunguska-sized event is associated with objects in the range of 30-50 meters).

Any of these undiscovered objects could already be on a short-term collision course with Earth, unbeknownst to us. Some are guaranteed to be, at some point in the future. We are still essentially flying blind through our populated region of the inner Solar System.

Further analysis has provided estimations of the frequency with which various sized NEOs and comets impact the Earth.[ref]For example see, Catastrophic Events Caused by Cosmic Objects; 2008, Springer; Chapter 2, “Size-frequency distribution of asteroids and impact craters: estimates of impact rate.”[/ref] As implied by the NEO population estimates referenced above, and as indicated in the graph on the preceding page, there is a direct relationship between the size of the NEO, the population level, and the impact rate.

These estimations of NEO populations and impact frequencies are still approximations, and should only be taken as temporary reference points, paving the way for more rigorous investigations. We cannot entrust human lives, or potentially human civilization, to betting on statistics which purely extrapolate from past events. They can be utilized in limited applications where useful, but only on the path to obtaining a principled—causal—understanding of the system. This requires both a dramatic expansion of our observational systems and our space-faring capability generally, as well as renewed methodological approaches to understanding the organization of the Solar System, and its relationship with the galaxy. Reliance on statistical extrapolations from the past leaves mankind completely blind to unexpected shifts away from present trends, driven by the development and evolution of the Solar System and galaxy—a process driven by future changes.