President of the International Association Znanie
Full member of the International Academy of Astronautics,
Academician of the Russian Academy of Astronautics named after K.E. Tsiolkovsky. Academician of Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after K.E. Tsiolkovsky,
President of the International Association “Znanie”
International Global Aerospace Monitoring System (IGMASS project) and perspectives of its implementation in cooperation with GEO
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, irregular solar activity, asteroids, etc. – these events do not distinguish state boundaries where they occur. We must consciously integrate and extend the power of the human mind to a degree never seen before. International cooperation to protect all humanity is not just good policy; it has profound implications for the betterment of humanity as a whole. From a historical perspective, the IGMASS becomes a test of the maturity of human civilization: can all nations, taken together, overcome the challenges of its survival?
Understanding this was the main motivation behind the emergence of the “International Global Monitoring Aerospace System” (IGMASS project) in 2009, designed to develop software to provide comprehensive, reliable early warning information combined with semantic and geospatial data on impending natural and man-made disasters. In this way, a new universal tool can be created to prevent emergencies, the consequences of which reach catastrophic proportions and annually lead to numerous human casualties and enormous economic damage. If at present we are unable to prevent large-scale natural and man-made disasters, we must at least foresee them in order to minimize the severity of the consequences.
As such, IGMASS is a proposal for a “system of systems,” an organization that could integrate existing and possible new different ways of monitoring – satellite, airborne and ground-based – the entire world, to enable real-time monitoring of the entire planet and near-Earth orbit against a wide range of threats to life on Earth. The idea of integrating and sharing information from satellites and other surveillance systems is not unique; various parallel ideas have been proposed at the United Nations and other associations. ICMM will have access to other mechanisms, creating a centralized “system of systems” that compares favorably with most others by focusing on signals preceding catastrophes, man-made and natural disasters, by which prediction of devastation before they occur is possible.
This important distinction is perhaps most pronounced in predicting seismic disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity). Although most reductionists, fearing the rigid construction, not accepted in official scientific circles, continue to waste their efforts and our time, stubbornly proving that any seismic activity prediction is simply impossible, a series of experiments made it clear that the science in this area uncertain, but moving forward, and successful predictions were made by the efforts of the pilot version of the project IGMASS tested by Russia in the past year. It will be a real revolution in protecting peoples and economies; IGMASS is a fairly timely proposition.
The predictive capabilities of IGMASS range from potential damage caused by forest fires and floods (as well as man-made disasters), to threats from asteroids, meteorites and comets, to the now so popular manifestation of “space weather” (cosmic radiation, electromagnetic oscillations, the influence of which we experience on Earth and in the nearest space, caused by solar and galactic activity). In order to understand, respond to, and even predict these terrestrial and space conditions, the idea of expanding the integration of ground-based and space-based monitoring systems becomes crucial.
The IGMASS project in its various forms is supported both in Russia and abroad. At the recent 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, the Russian Federation officially circulated a working paper entitled “Project on the establishment of an international aerospace system for global monitoring as a new promising initiative for predicting and responding to the consequences of natural and man-made disasters”, which was devoted entirely to IGMASS as a project with a realistic prospect for development in the near and far abroad.
Repeatedly mentioned abroad, the IGMASS Project is positively perceived in the CIS and other countries. About the soundness of the project document indicates that the UNGA (AC.105/C.1/L.323 of 12.04.2012), was fully devoted to the advanced Russian initiative IGMASS, on condition of the beginning of work to create a pilot version of the future system in Russia. This year MAKSM was officially supported by GEO, the committee was offered an observer status in this well-known organization. LYAUROSH Foundation t – the concept of authors from the Strategic Earth Defense supported the idea of the IGMASS concept in the context of the prospects of cooperation between Russia and the U.S. in the field of protection against asteroids and comets. Thus, a favorable political environment is developing around the project, which makes it possible to count on GEO support.
The goals of the full-scale IGMASS Project, with a strong emphasis on transition to global forecasting capabilities, should provide early warning of hazards. The full range of monitored disasters includes: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, natural fires; landslides, mudslides, avalanches; floods and drought; weather hazards; industrial accidents, abnormal solar activity, space debris, dangerous asteroids and comets.
In order to monitor the events themselves and the various forms of early signals that may precede some of these events (precursors) it is necessary to continuously observe and measure many different parameters (ionospheric disturbances, space debris in low Earth orbit, crustal fluctuations, surface shifts, precipitation, water levels, general atmospheric conditions, cloud cover, etc.). For this purpose, numerous ground, air, and satellite systems from various countries will provide measurements of these parameters, feeding all information to data centers where it can be integrated, compared, and analyzed. From there, forecasts, warnings, responses, and relief can be issued to the relevant governments and agencies.
For predictive monitoring purposes, key projects either already exist or are in development. These include international, regional, and other programs consisting of satellite constellations, information exchange centers, and other surveillance systems.
Due to the organizational and technical complexity of the IGMASS Project, it was decided to take the first steps toward its implementation in Russia, with gradual involvement of the CIS and EU countries. The current dynamics of the conflict over NATO’s missile defense systems in Eastern Europe and the closely related European economic disintegration can be overcome by scientific programs on the example of IGMASS. While the full implementation of an international version of the MACSM has yet to be achieved, Russia began designing and even operating limited aspects of a pilot version of the global system in 2012. The main goals of the creation are:
Information support for decision-making in the process of preventing natural/technogenic disasters, mitigating their consequences for the population and the economy;
A generational cluster of “predictive services” to support an integrated situational mode of monitoring predictive information, combined with semantic and geospatial data;
Access to data/service markets for predictive monitoring technologies, technical tools for server users and hardware/software;
Evolution of cost-effective and commercially viable distance learning (vocational education), cultural asset protection, telematics, and telemedicine practices.
The telecommunication and navigation resources of IACSM should also be used for humanitarian purposes: for the benefit of distance learning (vocational education), protection of cultural values, telematics and logistics, telemedicine, etc.
Therefore, the Eurasian pilot version of the IGMASS Project can be designed to address four topical tasks:
Short-term earthquake prediction (forecasting);
Early warning of threats of natural fires (forest fires);
Real-time monitoring of critical (potentially dangerous) technical infrastructure;
Early warning of space risks and threats of natural/man-made origin.
As has been demonstrated with Apollo or SDI projects, true science programs can not only generate net profits, but also contribute to economic growth, fundamentally transcendent in nature: the value of which is incommensurate with the cost of achieving such growth. New scientific and technological capabilities developed in true science programs by creating entirely new opportunities in the economy, that is, that simply did not exist before. Such new platforms for the economy as a whole cannot be understood on the basis of local profit. The current arguments that these programs “cost too much money” and “we cannot afford them” are simply absurd; on the contrary, we cannot afford not to undertake such projects.
On the project results already in place. Perhaps the most striking example of predicting the potential of MAXM is the ongoing study of earthquake precursors, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions. It is hoped that many lives can be saved in the future by monitoring precursor signals; early warning can be given of when and where earth tremors are likely to occur and their intensity predicted. The seismic predictive subsystem of IGMASS monitoring has a high level of readiness for practical implementation.
“The Research Center for Earth Monitoring,” which directly receives and analyzes data from satellites that continuously monitor the Earth and operate as part of JSC Russian Space Systems (the general designer and patron of the IGMASS project) of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). In addition to others, the Center began a new program to search for seismic precursors in an attempt to predict earthquakes and volcanic activity. Previously, the Center established an “Experimental Forecasting and Monitoring Site” (ESSM) to test real-time seismic forecasting capabilities, and attempted to achieve the goal outlined by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Russian Federation Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Management (EMERCOM). Focusing on earthquakes with magnitude 6,0 and more in the Pacific Ocean region of Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands, we will not miss any powerful seismic disturbance, and our forecasts for the date, location and scale were quite accurate. Thus, Russian experts are able to confirm earthquake precursor detection technology based on seismic tectonic methods for early earthquake warning.
The obtained practical results (algorithms, programming, software, outgoing data processing procedures) are applied in specialized data of GIS-portal of short-term seismic forecast monitoring. Due to the significance of the certified forecast data and advanced information services and based on it, this product can be highly valued in other markets, provided that the necessary level of seismic forecast verification is achieved.
The methodology used for earthquake prediction is based on the seismo-tectonic concept, combining a number of factors: gravity anomalies due to mass displacement, local readings of special cloud analysis, gas movement throughout the Earth’s structure, interaction of the solar/interplanetary magnetic field with the Earth’s magnetic field, instabilities in the Earth’s rotation, combination of magnetic meridians with tectonic processes and effects of solar activity, “geoeffective” phenomena that cause earthquakes. A number of satellite and ground-based systems that monitor these processes are used by the Center as key conditions for producing composite maps.
In addition to practical advances in the science of earthquake prediction, there is a recognition of the Sun’s influence on the Earth’s seismic processes that needs to be incorporated into accurate forecasting. The Sun’s activity can fluctuate greatly, sometimes the Earth and its magnetic field are literally bombarded by powerful bursts of material dropped from the Sun’s surface. The results of research carried out at the Research Center for Operational Earth Monitoring during the last year give convincing evidence for a connection between certain earthquakes and the Sun’s activity as well (this theory is by no means the first one). In the seismotectonic concept, the relationship between the Sun and earthquakes is mediated through the Earth’s magnetic field. On the one hand, recent studies at the Center have provided strong evidence that seismic activity can be caused by geomagnetic activity (which is taken into account in forecasting ). Although, on the other hand, it has long been known that solar activity can cause large-scale fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field (geomagnetic storms). As mentioned above, this is not the only factor to be considered, but the practical necessity of including it is of great importance for understanding the integrated connection between the Earth, the Solar System, and our Galaxy.
Russian Space Systems experts base their work on theoretical structure underlying processes generating earthquake precursors. Lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere (LAIC) model specifies relations and mechanisms underlying different phenomena, which may precede and even warn about forthcoming seismic disturbances (precursors). These include: infrared radiation (outgoing long-wave radiation), tectonic clouds, and changes in the ionosphere that may result from radioactive radon gas releases from an active fault. The ionizing effect of radon radiation from the lithosphere on the atmosphere and the subsequent interaction of the atmosphere with the ionosphere create a detectable array of precursor signals that can be used to predict upcoming seismic oscillations. Such a capability needs to be developed and included as a key component of the MAXM system, creating new capabilities to mitigate the effects of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis.
The subsystem of early warning on natural fires of the pilot version of IGMASS is created on the basis of the already existing “Information monitoring system” of the Federal Forestry Agency (Rosleskhoz) and will use the integrated data from remote sensing satellites along with the readings of ground and airborne assets. The Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences is ready to start development of a subsystem, which will integrate all available information on signs of natural fires (including hardware-based tools). According to estimates of Russian experts, there are a number of signs of forest and peat fires. These signs can be detected by satellite and aircraft equipment. Such equipment already exists both in Russia and abroad.
Thus, the necessary equipment, software, and control technologies are already developed. The system uses a site similar to the Russian space agency system from the commissioning of its pilot version in the Kaluga region (Russia). Obviously, there are many control parameters (indicators) of important technical objects that can be measured, collected, processed and transmitted through objects in space and in the air. Thus, Russia already has a substantial scientific and technical base for the implementation of the subsystem “Remote control of dangerous technical facilities” as a key component of MAXM (man-made disaster management tool).
One of the promising tasks of IGMASS is early warning of space risks and threats, which may be both natural (asteroids, comets, “space weather”, etc.) and man-made (space debris) origin. Due to asteroid impacts throughout Earth’s history, the inevitability of such occurrences in the future has caused increasing concern in scientific and military circles internationally. This is an event that will occur at some point in the future (we just don’t know yet when), and we have the technology to warn the entire Earth of this threat, i.e., to detect and track all objects that may pose a danger to us. We must focus on the entire belt between the orbits of Venus and Mars, trying to identify objects long before they collide with Earth.
There are many ideas how from a practical point of view to solve the question (one such proposal is the concept of “Space Patrol”) of placing two identical optical telescopes in special orbits around the Sun, the one always behind the Earth and the other always in front (they are defined as Lagrangian points “L4” and “L5”). The considerable distance between them will provide a stereoscopic view of our solar system and its limits, increasing our ability to estimate distance (among other benefits) and improving our ability to spot asteroids and comets, calculate distances and determine if they will collide with the Earth. But the designers of MAKSM suggest a more realistic approach – the creation of a “Space /Earth Danger Subsystem” based on existing Russian technical and technological facilities: the network of optical observatories NSOI AFN/ISON (Institute of Applied Mathematics RAS), powerful planetary radars located in Yevpatoria (Ukraine) and Ussuriisk (Russia), as well as the LFNV (interferometry RF on an elongated basis).
Thus, the goal is to create next year a pilot version of the MAXM Project through a step-by-step practical implementation in close cooperation with European countries. EU participation in the project will give revitalization of scientific branches of the economy, investments, new jobs and conditions to support the operators of aerospace monitoring forecasting services, which if demanded will ensure commercial success.
The project can be considered a fairly cost-effective initiative due to prevention (reduction) of losses due to natural / man-made disasters; commercial exchange of monitoring and forecasting data; safe maintenance of dangerous technical infrastructure facilities and reducing the cost of their maintenance; compensation for the supply of various services for the prevention of natural disasters. In addition, the cost-effectiveness of the project implies its stage-by-stage commercialization. The objects of commercialization are represented by: disaster forecasting data for technical and transportation infrastructure (e.g., oil or energy companies are willing to pay for the safety of their infrastructure), potentially hazardous technical facilities that are under the control of IGMASS and, not least, future IGMASS telecommunications resources.
Preliminary estimates show that the payback of the Project can be achieved through a flexible investment policy, built on the basis of the most innovative approach, targeting different categories of users and customers with respect to the possible power in the field of forecasting monitoring. Thus, the development and promotion of certified products of forecasting services (data services, peripherals, etc.) and the level of their marketing (net investment expenditure stage) will be accompanied by the sale of licenses for new technologies of competitive information products and services for consumers based on them (investment compensation stage). Then there will be a supply of telecommunication project resources on a commercial basis for the development of distance learning, training of profile specialists, protection of cultural values, telematics and telemedicine (the stage of profitable investment).
One of the forms of the pilot version of the IGMASS project “Design and certification of an integrated predictive aerospace monitoring system (IPMASS)”, the creation on its basis of complex and situational early warning services for natural / man-made disasters, together with semantic and geospatial data as an element of the “Interstate target program of innovation cooperation of the CIS member-states until 2020” (the program operator – the SKOLKOVO Foundation, the client – Federal agency Rossotr Specialized organizations of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have officially confirmed their readiness to participate in this project, which has been subjected to an independent scientific and technical expertise by the Interstate program operator, as well as experts from Belarus, Ukraine and other countries that have signed the relevant agreements.
The high-level decision of the CIS Council of Heads of Governments on May 31, 2013 to include the project in the “Interstate program of innovation cooperation of the Commonwealth member states for the period until 2020” and the official confirmation of the readiness of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to participate in its implementation (including interstate financing), also confirm the viability of the ideas of IGMASS as an important tool for disaster management in the modern stage of the world community development.
Recent results of the IGMASS promotion have shown that progress has been made in programs that can transform our ability to defend ourselves against a wide range of threats. While some of this work is still truly revolutionary, there are already certain global realities that can be realized at this stage. It has become clear not only the importance of a framework such as IGMASS for predicting and responding to natural and man-made emergencies on an international basis, but also the need for broader policy steps to achieve its full realization. Two points can be made here. First, at the very beginning of its step-by-step implementation, IGMASS faced the reality of a collapsing global economic system and the lack of the financial, physical, and human resources necessary to actually achieve the results of this program. Second, the success of a system such as IGMASS will only be fully realized by integrating the scientific capabilities of all leading countries around the world, which will require EU involvement. The capabilities of ESA, GMES (COPERNIC), DMC and subsequent GEO science programs provide an opportunity to integrate all nations in future emergency protection.
All of the above clearly illustrates the concept of the IGMASS system with the integration and expansion of multiple arrays of artificial sensor systems. Created with the unique capabilities of the human mind, these systems integrate into an expanded artificial sensorium of civilization, increasing the power of humans to understand the world around them, an imperative of humanity at this time.
The IGMASS project provides a unique opportunity to unite the efforts of the global community to develop a new joint strategy for the peaceful exploration of space, which is focused on ensuring the safe and sustainable development of humanity in the 21st century.