2010, Volume 17 Nr. 4, Issue 255
Space Project to Save Humanity
New Year 2010
An Associated Press article
by Vladimir Isachenkov at the end of the year 2009
reporting on the blast-off of the Russian rocket carrying the
crew module called the Soyuz TMA-17 to the International space
station on December 30 was the lead-in to humanity's joint
effort at preventing a comet from possibly colliding with earth
in the near future. Typically, I do not gamble.
However, if were offered the opportunity to purchase a
million-dollar lottery ticket whose odds of winning are one in
thirty-seven, I would quickly purchase numerous tickets.
One in thirty-seven. Those are the odds calculated by the
world's astronomers that the comet Apophis would smash into our
planet on it's first pass during the year 2029. NASA
studies conclude that Apophis would fly past earth at a distance
of 18,300 miles. This is analogous to a 45 caliber bullet
grazing past a human head a mere centimeter or so away.
Taking margin-of-error and/or other undetected (friction from
dust, etc.) forces during the comets flight path into account
the cause for alarm is vastly amplified.
- So it is good to see Anatoly
Perminov of the Russian space agency inviting the Chinese
space agency, NASA, the European space agency, and the space
agencies of other space faring nations to join the project
to deflect and protect the earth from this impending
calamity with alarming odds of being realized.
- The comet impact date and
time becomes more accurately calculated the closer we are
to the impact event. While the exact date may be a
bit off the threat is real. Permonov in the
spirit of human co-operation and concern for fellow-human
Calculations show that it's
possible to create a special purpose spacecraft within the
time we have, which would help avoid the collision without
destroying it (the asteroid) and without detonating any
nuclear charges. The threat of collision can be averted.
People's lives are at stake. We
should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system
that would allow to prevent a collision, rather than sit and
wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people.
- Apophis is just a symbolic
example, there are many other dangerous objects...
- Or, perhaps, kill
millions. Imagine it. Humanity getting together
in an unprecedented co-operative endeavor in saving its
members from a natural object of mass destruction. Ah, what
a wonderful thing!
So, here we are at the start of a
new decade in the early 21st century conspiring to implement
human science and technology to prevent nature from bombing the
earth with much more force than the nuclear bombings of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What amazing progress humanity has
accomplished. And yet.....
- We humans continue to kill
each other the world over. The British medical
journal, Lancet, reports that an estimated 94,939 - 103,588
documented Iraqi civilians have been killed during the
"liberation" of Iraq. The total combat wounded
military casualties are over 100,000. Another 320,000
have brain injuries
from combat and non-combat causes. Over 4,000 U.S. deaths
In March 2008 Palestinian
Center for Human Rights tallied the casualties from the
- Over the course of the 22
day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, a total of 1,434
Palestinians were killed. Of these, 235 were combatants.
The vast majority of the dead, however, were civilians and
non-combatants: protected persons according to the
principles of IHL. PCHR investigations confirm that, in
total, 960 civilians lost their lives, including 288
children and 121 women. 239 police officers were also
killed; the majority (235) in air strikes carried out on
the first day of the attacks. The Ministry of Health have
also confirmed that a total of 5,303 Palestinians were
injured in the assault, including 1,606 children and 828
In Afghanistan where the Taliban
use human shields against US Forces, the United nations reports
that a record high 2,118 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in
2009 as a result of insurgent, U.S. and NATO forces, drones,
"smart" bombs, IEDs, etc.
- Humanitarian agencies report
that in Sri Lanka, 250,000 civilians remain trapped in the
northeast territory as its civil war winds down. And
on and on it goes: the Somali civil war, the war in
northwest Pakistan, the Sa'dah insurgency in Saudi Arabia,
the Mexican drug war, the north Caucuses insurgency, Chad's
fourth civil war, the insurgency in south Thailand, the
insurgency in the Maghredb (Algeria Mauritania, Morocco),
the Niger Delta conflict, the insurgency in Ogaden
(Ethiopia), the Kashmir, the rebellion in Columbia,
- These current conflicts
deserve at least as much attention to ending their catastrophes
as does the comet Apophis. Imagine for a moment if the
most brilliant minds of the world were to meet and initiate
a project that would end violence, death and
destruction. Imagine a planet where it's inhabitants
come together and conclude that the earth requires a systematic
approach to stopping its collision with the
"comet" war. That would, of course, require
the changing of the human mindset on war and conflict
resolution by force. President Barak Obama did say,
"I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the
first place." But there appears to be little momentum
in that direction from the most powerful man alive.
What is needed is a change in the space between the ears of
the earth's 6-billion plus people - a mind space project to
move beyond the slaughter that produces only
more of the same.
History is littered with examples
of the futility of war. If war were so successful then
would not the human race have reached a point where war would
become unnecessary? War is obsolete as a means of conflict
resolution but remains as a defining paradigm of the limbic
primitive human mind. The history books of the world's
nations mark epochs and ages by a never ending serious of wars
and conflicts. It's the same-old-same-old over-and-over
again. Albert Einstein said,
- He who joyfully marches to
music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He
has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the
spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to
civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at
command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and
ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a
part of so base an action. It is my conviction that
killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of
While I'm eager and willing to
buy the million-dollar lottery ticket with one-in-twenty seven
odds of winning, I would be foolish to buy one having the same
odds that humanity will change its mindset on war.
To paraphrase Anatoly
Perminov of the Russian space agency:
People's lives are at stake.
We should pay several hundred billion dollars and build a system
that would allow to prevent war, rather than sit and wait for it
to happen and kill hundreds of thousands and millions of people.
Albert Einstein said upon the
release of atomic power that everything "has changed
except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies
in the heart of mankind". And herein lies the
problem. As a species we can contemplate and probably
succeed in saving the planet from the collision of comet
Apophis. Yet, we are unable to contemplate and save our
species from war and killing each other. Perhaps, it is
because the scientific and technical feat of saving the earth
from external destruction requires little effort from the heart
of mankind. Perhaps, it is because this feat and that of
making war share the same cerebral processes necessary to
accomplish the task while ignoring the heart of humanity.
If that is the case, then humanity deserves its encounter with
comet Apophis where its natural ending, like war, is devoid of
Happy new year 2010.
Hand-Boniakowski is co-editor and co-publisher of Metaphoria
along with his life partner and wife, JeanneE. He is 30-year
veteran retired teacher and a member of Veterans For Peace.
His writings have appeared in Metaphoria,
Dissident Voice, After
Downing Street, Buzzflash,
Paine's Corner, Omni
Herald, Times Argus,