NASA unveiled its plan to protect Earth and predict the chances for a threat from a near-Earth object (NEO), outlining five goals, including enhanced detection and improved modeling.
The 20-page plan, unveiled on Wednesday, details steps the US should take to be better prepared for objects such as asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of the planet.
“The nation already has significant scientific, technical and operation capabilities that are relevant to asteroid impact prevention,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer, in a statement.
Johnson added: “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.”
In addition to enhancing NEO detection, tracking and characterizing capabilities and improving modeling prediction, the plan also aims to develop technologies for deflecting NEOs, increasing international cooperation and establishing new NEO impact emergency procedures and action protocols.
On a conference call with the media, Aaron Miles, of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, stressed that no threat from an NEO is imminent. “NASA and partners have identified 95 percent of asteroids large enough to cause global catastrophe and none will pose a threat in this century,” Miles said.