Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, appointed to prevent meteorites


This photo, tweeted by Russia Today and credited to Chebarkul town head Andrey Orlov, shows a hole in frozen Chebarkul Lake made by debris from the meteorite that exploded over Russia on Feb. 15.


Andrey Orlov/RT via Twitter

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has been appointed to propose ways to predict and prevent disasters from space.

Rogozin plans to give the country's leader, Dmitry Medvedev, an “objective picture” of the blast, which injured thousands and caused an estimated 1 billion rubles ($33 million) in damage in the Chelyabinsk region on Friday, The Moscow Times reported.

Rogozin tweeted on Sunday: “the essence of our idea consists of joining the intellectual and technological efforts of industrial nations.” He cited Russian, U.S., Chinese and European industries as examples.

Scientists said the meteorite last week was a loud warning that they hoped would inspire action to prevent potential catastrophes, the LA Times reported.

"When a small piece of rock would fall on the Earth 100 years ago, it could have caused minimal damage and would have stayed largely undetected, but Friday's accident fully demonstrated how vulnerable the technological civilization of today has become," Vladimir Lipunov, head of the Space Monitoring Laboratory with Moscow State University, said in an interview.

But Viktor Litovkin, editor of the Independent Military Review, said a $28 billion system for preventing space threats could be a waste of money “because no one today could precisely predict when, in what location and at what time” a falling object would come, he told Business FM radio Saturday.

But Rogozin disagrees, and according to the Russian Interfax, he said: "I have spoken before about the need for some kind of international initiative, related to establishing a warning and prevention system for dangerous approaches to Earth by objects of extraterrestrial origin." 

As Russian authorities searched on the weekend for remnants of the space object, amateur enthusiasts were scrambling to find bits of the meteorite.

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Dmitry Kachkalin, a member of the Russian Society of Amateur Meteorite Lovers, said the pieces could fetch a good price, Reuters reported.

“The price is hard to say yet ... The fewer meteorites that are recovered, the higher their price,'' Kachkalin told Reuters. 

He estimates that chunks could be worth up to $2,200 per gram, more than 40 times the current cost of gold, the news agency said.