NASA Readies Ten Years Plan to Save the Earth from Killer Asteroids

A scene NASA plans to prevent 1 photo
Back in 1998, when Michael Bay’s Armageddon hit theaters, it did more than earn half a billion dollars. It opened the eyes of the regular Joe to a danger he only marginally knew existed: asteroids and comets.
Officially, the space rocks that come close enough to our planet to pose a threat are known as near-Earth objects, or NEO. And for decades now, space agencies across the world have tried to come up with ways to better detect and possibly remove such threats.

NASA, as the world’s leading space agency, is perhaps better positioned for the task than others. It already had some type of action plan in place, but this week it presented a renewed version of it, meant to safeguard Earth over the next decade.

NASA worked on the new project along with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government entities. What resulted is a 20-page document titled The National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan.

The main provision of the plan is support for asteroid detection and tracking efforts for both Earth- and space-based observatories.

Once detected, the threats are to be published along with maps and orbits by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), for all interested parties to be able to study them and contribute to efforts of mitigating the risks.

The third provision of the plan, and the most spectacular of them, is the research to be conducted into finding ways and technologies needed to deflect or even break up asteroids.

In the document, NASA cites nuclear explosive devices as the main tool to destroy the asteroids that are spotted late and are on a dangerous trajectory. To better understand the incoming asteroids, NASA also calls for reconnaissance missions via spacecraft.

"The nation already has significant scientific, technical and operation capabilities that are relevant to asteroid impact prevention," said in a statement Lindley Johnson, NASA's planetary defense officer.

"Implementing the National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan will greatly increase our nation's readiness and work with international partners to effectively respond should a new potential asteroid impact be detected."

The entire official document, as released by NASA, is attached below.
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 Download: NASA NEO Strategy (PDF)

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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