NASA Creates Planetary Defense Coordination Office To Save Earth

Posted: Jan 16 2016, 6:06am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA Creates Planetary Defense Coordination Office to Save Earth
The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) 1 telescope on Maui's Mount Haleakala, Hawaii has produced the most near-Earth object discoveries of the NASA-funded NEO surveys in 2015. Image credit: University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy / Rob Ratkowski
  • NASA Creates Planetary Defense Coordination Office to Coordinate Asteroid Detection, Hazard Mitigation

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office may in fact be a wise precaution made by the space agency.

Were an asteroid on a collision course with the earth, NASA will be on the lookout beforehand. A week ago, NASA formed a a Planetary Defense Coordination Office which will beef up the asteroid-detecting capabilities of the space agency.

A great many remedies will be sought for the destruction or deflection of the comet that comes too close to earth for comfort.

The scenario is indeed quite frightening since any doomsday object that approaches earth from outer space will be a hazard to life as we know it on the planet.

Many such unidentified flying objects are still floating about in the depths of space. And some of them may end up hitting the earth sometime in the future. The constant tracking of these objects is what NASA is up to.

"Asteroid detection, tracking and defense of our planet is something that NASA, its interagency partners, and the global community take very seriously," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

"While there are no known impact threats at this time, the 2013 Chelyabinsk super-fireball and the recent 'Halloween Asteroid' close approach remind us of why we need to remain vigilant and keep our eyes to the sky."

The budget for this function began as a $4 million input five years ago. Then it increased beyond that to $40 million a year ago. Today thanks to the office that has been created, the budget for this purpose is $50 million.

Some have said that the probability of a collision with another world is unlikely. But you never know. Near Earth Objects or NEOs are a constant threat. While such a situation may happen only rarely if ever but when it does the effects will be disastrous.

The catastrophe may even be enough to wipe the signs of life from the planet. NASA is being very vigilant in its spotting of stray comets and alien asteroids.

At present there are no dangers but when you look back there have been several close calls. It’s been awhile since such an office was in the cards for NASA.

"The formal establishment of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office makes it evident that the agency is committed to perform a leadership role in national and international efforts for detection of these natural impact hazards, and to be engaged in planning if there is a need for planetary defense," said Lindley Johnson, longtime NEO program executive and now lead program executive for the office, with the title of Planetary Defense Officer.

The agency and its branch for collision avoidance will play a leading role in the defense of the planet. The SPACE Act allows for the mining of asteroids. Drilling on an asteroid may be another way of preventing it from hitting the earth in a certain time frame.

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