Armaged some funding! Danish NGO collecting funds for asteroid protection

The Danish NGO, the Emergency Asteroid Defence Project (EADP), is currently seeking funding worth approximately 1.3 million kroner as it works towards developing a spacecraft that can blow threatening asteroids to pieces.

Researchers led by Professor Bong Wie at Iowa State University have, in co-operation with EADP, developed a spacecraft and interception plan that aims to deflect or dissipate asteroids in a short-warning-time scenario.

“The risk of being hit by a car is obviously greater than that of being hit by an asteroid,” said EADP’s founder Søren Ekelund – a mechanical engineer who is the CEO and owner of 01 Advanced Innovation – who has already contributed 4 million kroner to the project.

“But it is easier to do something about the asteroid.”

Conquering the asteroid threat
According to researchers, asteroids pose a very real threat to society, both in terms of cost and damage.

“The smaller asteroids (under 300 metres in diameter) can be hard to see until they are very close. We saw this first-hand in 2013 when an asteroid caused 33 million dollars worth of damage in Russia,” Ekelund told Ingeniøren, referring to the 10,000-tonne asteroid that splintered over the city of Chelyabinsk.

The vessel is a HAIV (Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle) – a two-body spacecraft that produces a crater on the objects surface, before delivering an explosive device into the crater, breaking up the asteroid into small harmless pieces.

More funding required
Via crowdfunding on Indiegogo, the NGO has so far received a modest $5,837 – a figure equivalent to 3 percent of the target of $200,000.

However, Ekelund explains that it is the psychological barriers that impede the work.

“People think it sounds crazy, and I admit that at first, I did too. It is something that seems distant and remote from our comprehension – nobody knows someone that has been killed by an asteroid,” said Ekelund.

“We expect to have a vessel ready within two to three years, so we hope to get the general public on board with our cause.”