International Symposium for Asteroids Reducing Impact and Exploration

on 11 April 2011

Mr. Virgiliu Pop, researcher at the Romanian Space Agency, received the first prize for best paper and presentation at the International Symposium on Asteroid Mitigation and Exploration. The symposium held between 4-6 April at Station College, USA, and it was hosted by Texas A & M University, bringing together international experts in the fields of space exploration and Earth defense against potential threats coming from asteroids.

The work of Mr. Pop, "Legal Considerations and Exploitation on Asteroid Deflection" covers both issues discussed at the conference. "Asteroids are both a rich source of minerals and a danger to life on Earth," said Mr. Pop, specialist in international law and space researcher, since 2007, at the Romanian Space Agency. "Over time, mankind has been able to tame nature, to control rough water and exploiting them for energy, to transform enemies into allies. Asteroids, by being both a minefield and a vast mine of priceless wealth perfectly fit in this picture "and mankind will be able to tame and to enjoy their wealth," continued Mr. Virgil Pop.

He thinks that for this, we need to facilitate access of private firms in space and the possible assertion of property rights in space: "Once allowed to exploit the wealth of space for profit, private companies will classify hazardous asteroids much better than any governmental body and the exploitation will be able to reduce, if not eliminate, the danger posed by them.

Next month, Romania will be again in the center of the scientific community, hosting between 9-12, the 2011 IAA Planetary Defense Conference: From Threat to Action. The conference, which will be held in Bucharest under the auspices of the International Academy for Astronautics and under the patronage of the Romanian Space Agency will examine, in turn, the dangers posed by asteroids and the most appropriate methods of combating them.