The United States space agency NASA recently revealed its plans for protecting the Earth from dangerous Earth-bound asteroids and estimating the risks from the near-Earth objects (NEOs). A new report was released by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday 20th June with the title the “National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan.” The document of twenty pages outlines the various steps that would be undertaken by NASA along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the upcoming ten years for preventing hazardous asteroids, which appear within thirty million miles of our Earth.
The Planetary Defense Officer of NASA, Lindley Johnson at the NASA headquarters in Washington, said in a statement, “The nation already has significant scientific, technical and operation capabilities that are relevant to asteroid impact prevention.” Further, 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.”
This plan of NASA involves improving NEO identification and characterization methods, enhancing modeling prediction, adding new technologies to deflect NEOs, working towards strong international cooperation, and implementing new action protocols.
During a discussion about the new asteroid-mitigation plans, the Chief of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Branch, Leviticus Lewis, said, “An asteroid impact is one of the possible scenarios that we must be prepared for.” Further, Lewis added that asteroid attacks are of low-probability, however, the consequence of the event could be much higher than expected and for this, some level of precautions are necessary to be taken.
NASA said that implementing this huge plan would not be easy but this would not be done by the astronauts themselves rather all this would be implemented by some robotic spacecraft.
Miles revealed that this plan is derived mostly from the existing resources of the United States government. As said by Johnson, the total budget for this planetary defense plan of NASA is one hundred fifty million dollars per year. Johnson even explained that there exist near about eighteen thousand three hundred recorded NEOs out of which only eight thousand are more than or equal to hundred meters in length.