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.

12 May 2011

2011 IAA Planetary Defense Conference: Day 4 Session 8

Notes from Day 4 of 2011 IAA Planetary Defense Conference. Follow twitter feed for more information:

Day 4 (Thursday 12 May 2011) Session 8
Legal, Policy, POlitical Framework for Planetary Defense

- A'Hearn
"Recommendations of the US NRC Study on NEOs"
asked by US Congress a few years ago about NEO Surveys and NEO Hazard Mitigation
released Jan. 2010, reviewed 2006 NASA report
>-8 members from study at 2011 IAA PDC
different types of personnel (nukes, anti-nukes, robotic/astronaut enthusiasts)
independent costs estimates obtained but not in time (including in written report)

1. Cannot meet congressional mandate by 2020 (written in 2009), 90% of d>140m requires new technology
2. Venue trailing orbit can be done by 2022 if funding is available ($2-3B including 7 years of operations) - NRC Ah Hoc comm advocated in-space obs.
3. probably IR but maybe in optical
4. LSST could be it by 2025, by 2030, or sonner in NEO-optimized shared mods

Survey try to find smaller object less than 140m (30-50m diameter) if font interfere with >140m objects, do not stop once you have found <140 m objects
Arecibo radar important

4 approaches to mitigation: civil defense, slow push (tug, solar heating, albdeo change, GT), kinetic impact, nuclear blast
boundary between technique is fuzzy

Q: NRC report misunderstands role of gravity tractor, Rusty: not a deflection for an Earth impact, mission for keyhole impact (necessary for every mission) - needed for all missions, keyhole deflector not an earth deflector

Q: break connection of disruption with last minute defense

- Sergio Comacho
"Progress of NEO Activities within the UN COPUOS"

talks about Action Team 14 (on NEOs) and UN CONPUOS

Report by ASE's international panel on asteroid threat mitigation
finished 30 Sept. 2008m Nov. 2008 summary presented by AT-14

NEOs preocess under a work plan - 2009 until 2011 (work carried out by STSC(and its WG) and CONPUOS, internsessionally bt AT-14

Workshop on a NEO mission planning and operations group (MPOG) at ESA's ESOC in Darmstadt in Oct. 2010

Interim report, L.308, contains an annex to the revised " Draft Recommendation for international response to the Near Earth Object Impact Threat"

AT-14 (27 members) and WG reviewed L.308 and those updates were incorporated in the interim report of AT-14 (2011-2012)

Multi-year work plan on NEOs has been extended for two more years (2012-2013)
Intersessional work in 2011-2012 could include workshops of experts on various aspects of draft recommendations made by Action Team
Intersessional work on 2011-2012 to talk about MPOG

- Boris Shustov
"National NEO Program Plans" [in Russia]
Space Council for Russian Academy of Sciences include group looking at space debris and NEOs

Two major bodies include Russian Federal Agency (Yuri Makarov) and Russian Academy of Sciences (Ministry, 230 institutions)

Space Council of Russian Academy of Sciences
Activity on NEO problem in Russia is rising
Book on NEOs, published in Russia in 2010 (written in two levels)

Need a comprehensive (federal) program in Russia on international cooperation on NEOs

draft concept of long etmer federal NEO program group prepared by Expert Working Group on ACH by the Space Council of the RAS

June 2010, special joint meeting of the heads of Federal Space Agency and RAS was held

Roscomos and RAS want to integrate NEOs and space debris, preliminary name: "System of Mitigation of Space Threats", program under preparation, complex program (detail) presented in fall of 2011

- new optical instruments for massive discovery
- wide-angle 1.6 m telescope (400-1100 nm) AZT-33VM
- space born telescope for NEOs
- includes follow-up observatories
- radar technology for NEos (Ukraine and Russian): 70m radar in Ussuriisk for study of PHO
- Space mission, pre phase A study of automated mission is completed, Phase A will be completed in 2012, study physical properties of PHA (maybe Apophis)
- put a radio beacon on asteroid (depends on Phobos-Grunt mission scheduled for launch in Nov. 2011)

Lockne meteorite crater: formed 450m years ago by impact of 600 meters

Tunguska investigation included in program

- Lindley Johnson
references OSTP letter dates 15 oct. 2010 (response to NASA Authorization Act)

Damon Wells from OSTP coordinated from presentation

US National Policy in June 28, 2010 document: first time NASA policy specifies NEO threat action, first time in such a document at such a level, provided leverage for NASA to work with other agencies
plus up from NEO program from $5M program to $20.4M program
new plans for NEO human missions by 2025

NEO threat detection:

NASA will coordinate NEO detection and threat information, NASA would include direction of public information, NASA has set up information process for threats

upon notification from NASA:
1. threat to US territory, FEMA takes lead (FEMA can only advise on evacuation)
2. beyond US territory, US Department of State facilities efforts

homework needs to be done from WH perspective on potential NEO mitigation/deflection as to maturity of who to assign it to? (NASA-unclear)

Q: in terms of mitigation, who is leading within NASA
A: see the OCT put it in one of their calls, needs still to be organized: what is the outcome of the PD task force: has not been decided by the administrator: hope can announce at LPSC next year, perhaps not under one directorate, opportunities under Science and Space Exploration, and maybe technologist, may need to be a PLD coordination office to keep a focus on the activity
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