US stepping up Earth's protection from asteroids, comets

James Marshall
June 22, 2018

In a big announcement that includes plenty of assurances that we're not now in danger of an asteroid impact, NASA has a new plan for dealing with asteroid impacts.

NASA's planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson said: "This plan is an outline not only to enhance the hunt for hazardous asteroids but also to better predict their chances of being an impact threat well into the future and the potential effects that it could have on Earth".

NASA has a plan to protect the Earth from death by asteroid, and the space agency will unveil it to the world today (June 20).

NASA's Near-Earth Object Observation Program funds asteroid detection and tracking efforts at observatories across the USA and in space, and collaborates with other observatories around the world.

There's no quick solution if a space rock is suddenly days, weeks or even months from striking, according to Johnson. By completing this action plan, the agency along with its governmental partners will start to evaluate and actually begin development of various approaches, HAMMER, or otherwise, including the necessary technologies to defend Earth from a significant asteroid or comet collision, seeing as how there could be a Planet Nine out there firing comets this way.

"Near-Earth objects" are hurtling toward Earth and NASA has a plan to make sure they don't land in your lawn. But such notice would give time to evacuate the area it might hit.

That's what happened in 2013 when an asteroid about 20m in size suddenly exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, damaging thousands of buildings.

According to the report, casualties could be in the millions if a similar event struck NY.

"The document identifies actions to enhance the federal government's coordination and preparedness posture during the next 10 years to address potential hazard posed by NEOs", NASA officials stated in a news release announcing today's teleconference. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is working with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to "look at what should be the global response to the NEO hazard", Johnson said.

When asked where the funding for this would come from, Miles said that the plan comes largely from existing resources in the USA government, but it's about utilizing those resources and monies in a smarter and more efficient way. But beyond this, there are some plans to actually destroy asteroids in new ways, which include using robots to take down an NEO heading this way - unlike most science fiction movies, there are no plans to send a crack team of astronauts to blow up the meteor themselves. Missions like this lasting months or years make it hard if not impossible for humans, given current technology.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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