Schweickart is advocating a new United Nations Treaty to address a global response to asteroids. The risk of doing nothing is great. On Sunday, April 13, 2036 a 1,000-foot-wide asteroid named 99942 Apophis could hit the Earth with a blast equal 880 million tons of TNT. NASA, at the direction of Congress, is tracking hundreds of asteroids while looking for other Near Earth Asteroids (NEOs).
Mining asteroids may be a profitable venture for the nascent commercial space firms by 2025 but it may be just in time. In 2029, seven years before the possible impact of Apophis, it will come closer to our planet than the television and weather satellites that beam back signals from 22,300 miles above. Some fear the close proximity will cause it to fall under gravitational influences to hit the Earth in 2036. Capture and mining the object may not only save the Earth from a catastrophic event but moreover asteroid mining could be a significant money maker for a would-be commercial space mining firm. Linked is a Planetary Radio interview with Schweickart.