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NASA unveils plan to safeguard Earth from asteroid attacks

According to a new report released by NASA through the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), NASA has plans to develop an asteroid detection and deflection technology over the course of coming ten years. The report is titled as ‘National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan’ and comprises of 18 pages which illustrate information regarding the work of NASA for addressing concerns of asteroids that would imminently collide with Earth. Even though there are no such threats presently on NASA’s radar, the frequent discovery of asteroids which were not known earlier could be a cause for assuming the threat seriously.

NASA has been working towards this project for a while with a major focus on detection. It led to the increased observation of such objects post-1980. NASA also leverages a well-maintained network of telescopes intended for regular scanning of the skies for identifying any potentially detrimental near-Earth objects (NEOs). NASA has outlined five notable goals for accomplishing its objective of detecting and deflecting asteroids. The foremost goal includes the enhancement of capabilities for NEO detection, tracking and characterization. The other goals include improvement of NEO modeling, prediction and information integration, development of technologies for NEO deflection and disruption missions, augmenting and routine exercising of NEO Impact emergency procedures and action protocols and fostering international cooperation in the context of NEO preparation.

A part of the plan released by NASA includes approaches for coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as other governmental and non-governmental agencies throughout the globe that can assist in the management of catastrophes.

OSTP representative, Aaron Miles clarified in a teleconference on the 10-year plan that there is no hint of alarm in this initiative but an effort for preparing for the off chance where such an event could happen. He added that destructive events involving asteroids are considerably rare. NASA and its associates have identified that almost 95% of all asteroids are capable of causing a global catastrophe in terms of its size albeit without any substantial threat within this century.

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