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.

04 April 2008

Update from Leonard David on U.S. NEO Action from Congress and NASA

Interesting update from Leonard David on actions in Congress and potentially by NASA on NEOs, full text of the post follows...

Keep an eye on a bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Near Earth Objects (NEOs).

The NEO Preparedness Act calls upon the NASA Administrator to establish an Office of Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Object Preparedness. That office would “prepare the United States for readiness to avoid and to mitigate collisions with potentially hazardous near-Earth objects in collaboration with other Agencies through the identification of situation- and decision-analysis factors and selection of procedures and systems.”

NASA has also been tasked to request the National Academy of Science to look into issues with detection of potentially hazardous NEOs and approaches to mitigate these hazards. The exact statement of task is still being hashed out, but that study should be underway in a couple of months or so, I’ve been advised.

According to Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, speaking at a recent meeting on outer planet exploration, part of the NEO assessment will focus on use of ground-based or space-based observations for NEOs and approaches to developing deflection capability.

It’s not within NASA’s charter to protect the planet from threatening NEOs, Green noted. Such a mission could go to the Department of Defense, he said, “but we’ll see how it goes.”

In NEO-related news, Green also reported on the huge Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. “We have confirmed with the NSF [National Science Foundation] that they will fully-fund Arecibo operations in fiscal year 2008,” he explained.

Conversation between NSF and NASA about funding Arecibo operations in upcoming years has begun, Green said.

"Near-Earth Object Protection: NASA or Defense Department Mission?"
Leonard David Blog
04 April 2008

Link: Blog Post

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