This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

19 March 2008

Dave Morrison on Planetary Defense and Sir Arthur C. Clarke

From Dave Morrison's NEO News (03/19/08). The following are some of Dave's comments related to the passing of a true visionary Sir Arthur C. Clarke this week...

Science fact and science fiction lost one of our most visionary and influential heroes with the death of Arthur C. Clarke. Following are several obituaries. None of them comment, however, on Clarke's contribution to our field by providing the name for the Spaceguard Survey. The name "Spaceguard" was suggested by the NASA Spaceguard Workshop (which I chaired) in 1992. This name had been coined in Clarke's novel "Rendezvous with Rama", for a future system to detect any incoming asteroids or comets in time to protect the Earth from a catastrophic impact. Clarke graciously endorsed our use of the term, which has become synonymous with asteroid surveys. He himself supported our efforts to initiate this survey and was pleased to have his name associated with such a worthy endeavor. Partly inspired by the new attention to the impact hazard, Clarke wrote in 1994 a novel on this theme: "Hammer of God". The plot concerns efforts to deflect a large cometary object on a collision course with Earth. This novel was acquired by a Hollywood studio and became part of basis for the 1998 film "Deep Impact", although Clarke himself did not write the script. All of us who have been entertained and inspired by Sir Arthur Clarke's writings mourn his passing.

David Morrison


NEO News (now in its fourteenth year of distribution) is an informal compilation of news and opinion dealing with Near Earth Objects (NEOs) and their impacts. These opinions are the responsibility of the individual authors and do not represent the positions of NASA, Ames Research Center, the International Astronomical Union, or any other organization. To subscribe (or unsubscribe) contact For additional information, please see the website If anyone wishes to copy or redistribute original material from these notes, fully or in part, please include this disclaimer.

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