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Kazakhstan needs asteroid observation stations: astrophysicist

15 december 2014, 13:11

Kazakhstan needs stations capable of detecting dangerous asteroids, said Victor Teifel, head of the Physics of the Moon and Planets Laboratory of Vasyl Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, Tengrinews reports.

He explained that Kazakhstan is located in a "blind" zone between the United States and Europe. There are no stations capable of rapidly detecting asteroids at this latitude. The same goes for Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

"Hundreds of stations are needed around the world. Our observatory can be equipped with special telescopes, too. We need automated systems that detect moving objects," Teifel said.

The scientist reminded that Russian experts had discovered a new asteroid - 2014 UR116 - which poses a danger to our planet. Preliminary data suggest that the trajectory of the celestial body intersects the orbit of the Earth.

"There is nothing serious so far. The fact the the orbits cross does not mean that the Earth will be in the exact spot where the asteroid will pass through the orbit of the planet. So there is nothing to worry about yet," the astrophysicist said.

Nevertheless, hypothetically, a collision of the asteroid with the Earth would lead to a global catastrophe and annihilation of several countries.

According to Teifel, the orbit of 2014 UR116 can be verified in 2015. To do this, scientists need to measure three exact positions of the celestial body in the sky to calculate its trajectory. It is necessary to constantly watch it as it moves through gravity fields of the Sun and other planets to see how the gravity fields affect its trajectory.

Teifel believes that the international community needs to step up the monitoring of potentially dangerous space objects.

"It is important that all the countries, including Kazakhstan, spare no money and invested in astronomy, because the safety of the Earth now depends on scientists. The threat is real, because there are many asteroids out there and not all of them have been discovered. This is why we need constant observations, special telescopes and trained professionals to conduct the search for dangerous celestial bodies," Teifel stressed.

Reporting by Dmitry Khegai, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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