NAC Planetary Defense Task Force Makes Five Recommendations to NASA

NAC Planetary Defense Task Force Makes Five Recommendations to NASA

The NASA Advisory Council’s (NAC’s) Task Force on Planetary Defense made five recommendations to NASA in its report to NAC, which accepted the report on October 6. The Task Force was co-chaired by two former astronauts, Tom Jones and Rusty Schweickart. In this context, planetary defense means defending Earth from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) — asteroids and comets — headed our way.

The recommendations are:

  • Organize for Effective Action on Planetary Defense
  • Acquire Essential Search, Track and Warning Capabilities
  • Investigate the Nature of the Impact Threat
  • Prepare to Respond to Impact Threats
  • Lead U.S. Planetary Defense Efforts in National and International Forums

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently sent letters to Congress in response to a provision in the 2008 NASA Authorization Act on agency roles and responsibilities in dealing with the NEO threat. It gave NASA a lead role in many aspects of NEO detection and cataloging, but deferred decisions on who is in charge of mitigating the threat. It did identify NASA as the lead agency to perform analysis and simulation to inform future decisions on mitigation options.

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