NEO Committee
  • Objectives
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  • PATM
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Human society faces a long-term hazard from asteroid and comet impacts on Earth. The chances are 100% that our planet will be struck again by a large near-Earth object (NEO), and we have discovered only a tiny fraction of the million or so objects capable of destroying a city. Recognizing the threat posed by hazardous NEOs, the ASE, as an international association of influential space fliers, is active in promoting global discussions aimed at a near-term capability to prevent a future damaging impact.

The Association formed its Committee on NEOs at its Congress in Salt Lake City in October 2005. The Committee is charged with bringing to the attention of world leaders and key international institutions the threat of asteroid impacts to life on Earth. In an Open Letter of October 14, 2005, the ASE said, in part:

“Due to advances in both the discovery of these objects and in space technology we are aware of the unique fact that these infrequent cosmic collisions are, using advanced space technology, both predictable and preventable. This distinctive and providential characteristic of NEO impacts allows the prevention of these largest of natural disasters, if, and only if, national governments and relevant international institutions understand these inevitable events and act together to prevent their occurrence.”

Through its international expert Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation, the ASE quickly produced a decision-making proposal and a set of recommendations to help the international community address the impact threat. The plan went to the United Nations in 2008.

Today, the Committee promotes inter-space agency planning for NEO deflection, and is active in United Nations discussions aimed at a decision-making agreement to deal with hazardous objects. Help ASE facilitate international cooperation on NEOs by making a donation – even small contributions will help us develop the will and technology to prevent a catastrophic impact. 

We need your help to support this important work!

Members of the ASE Committee on Near Earth Objects

Tom Jones (USA) – Chair
Sergei Avdeev (Russia)
Franklin Chang-Diaz (USA/Costa Rica)
Pedro Duque (Spain)
Chris Hadfield (Canada)
Edward Lu (USA)
Soichi Noguchi (Japan)
Dumitru Prunariu (Romania)
Viktor Savinykh (Russia)
Gerhard Thiele (Germany)

 

The NEO Committee is supported by public contributions and through grants from the following organizations:

The Mitchell Kapor Foundation
Kauffman Family Fund
Ploughshares Fund

The Committee also works with the Secure World Foundation on this project. The Committee thanks the following individuals for their generous contributions to the development of the ATACGR and the ongoing work of the Committee:

Cynda Arsenault
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Baran
Dr. and Mrs. John-David Bartoe
Mr. Jack Bertron
Mrs. Juli Betwee
Mr. Glen Dahlbacka
Juli Doyle
Mr. Albert Ender
Mr. John Gale
Ms. Donna Gray
Robert Greber
Garrett Greuner
Mr. Karl Handelsman
David Hamlin
Mr. Kenneth Jesmore
Mr. Ira Kanter
Mr. Carl Lewis
Dr. Myron Marx
Eric Mathews
John McStay
Dan Miller
Rand Morimoto
Dave Morrison
Dan Richard
David Richards
Carter Roberts
Mr. & Mrs. John Scarborough
Mike Smithwick
Jeffrey Stein
Richard Wade
James Walker
Richard Weisenmiller

 

ASE Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation

The Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation organized a series of four international workshops to develop Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response. Workshops were held in the US, Costa Rica, France and Romania.

Russell Schweickart, Chair*
Adigun Ade Abiodun
Vallampadugai Arunachalam
Sergei Avdeev*
Roger-Maurice Bonnet
Sergio Camacho-Lara
Franklin Chang-Diaz*
James George
Tomifumi Godai
Chris Hadfield*
Peter Jankowitsch
Thomas Jones*
Sergey Kapitza
Paul Kovacs
Walther Lichem
Edward Lu*
Gordon McBean
Dorin Prunariu*
Martin Rees
Karlene Roberts
Viktor Savinykh*
Michael Simpson
Crispin Tickell
Frans von der Dunk
Richard Tremayne-Smith
James Zimmerman *Association of Space Explorers Near-Earth Object Committee

ATACGR
In 2009, after three years of preparation and four international workshops, the NEO Committee formally submitted their report and recommendations: Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response. The report was introduced in the 2009 session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN/COPUOS) in Vienna, Austria.

Acting on its report, “Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response,” the NEO Committee has co-sponsored a series of multi-space agency implementation workshops for each of the report’s functional elements: information and warning, mission planning and operations, and authorization and oversight.  A Mexico City meeting in January 2010, focused on the role of the NEO Information, Analysis, and Warning network (IAWN). ASE, ESA, and NASA again brought together representatives from the space-faring nations in October 2010 in Darmstadt, Germany, examining the establishment of the Mission Planning and Operations group (MPOG).  Here, the space-faring nations discussed technology and planning considerations for a future NEO deflection.

Executive Summmary of the IAWN workshop Executive Summary of the MPOG Workshop May 2011: Ad Astra "Steps for Planetary Defense", Tom Jones 24 May 2011: Planetary Defense briefing to NASA/SOMD 15 February 2011: ASE Statement to COPUOS/STSC | Presentation

25 June 2014

ASE Committee Chairman Tom Jones represented the ASE NEO Committee at the June, 2014 meetings of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna, Austria | Read the Report


29 October

Here is a press roundup from the October 25 NEO event at AMNH:

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-un-asteroid-defense-plan-20131028,0,5301471.story#axzz2j0d9bA2j

Discovery.com: http://news.discovery.com/space/asteroids-meteors-meteorites/united-nations-to-spearhead-asteroid-deflection-plan-131028.htm

Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/news/detecting-and-deflecting-a-killer-asteroid-16084695

Universe Today: http://www.universetoday.com/105757/what-if-earth-was-under-attack-by-an-asteroid-astronaut-panel-brings-up-ideas-to-search-deflect-these-threats/

NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/astronauts-point-next-frontier-stopping-killer-asteroids-8C11459971

Space.com: http://www.space.com/23344-asteroid-threat-earth-united-nations-response.html

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/25/tyson-asteroids-discussion-livestream_n_4163461.html

Spaceref: http://spaceref.com/asteroids/ase-calls-for-global-cooperation-to-confront-asteroid-threats.html


25 October

The ASE NEO Committee celebrates UN adoption of key components of its Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response recommendations with a panel discussion at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Read the ASE NEO Statement

Read the Press Release


14 March

Agreement for enhanced international coordination to deal with potential asteroid threats reached at
United Nations | Read it

Recommendations of the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects for an international response to the near-Earth object impact threat

27 February 2013

NEO Committee Status report and update | Read it

19 February 2013

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, on board the International Space Station, talks about the NEO threat | Video

15 February 2013

ASE NEO Committee Chair Tom Jones delivers statement to the UN/COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

13 February 2013 Status Update:

Asteroid Flyby, Astronaut Message from Space Station Remind Us We Can Shield Earth from Future Strike
 
Tom Jones – tj@space-explorers.org

·         Friday (2/15) will see a near-miss of Earth by the biggest asteroid to come this close. 2012 DA14, half the size of a football field, will streak by Earth within 18,000 miles, within the 22,000-mile high orbit of most communication satellites. The asteroid will miss Earth and has a very small chance of hitting any satellite.
 
·         NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab says a close approach from such a large object happens every 40 years or so. On average, an asteroid this big strikes Earth about every thousand years. The last known impact of this size was over Siberia in 1908. The blast energy of DA14 (with a mass of 130,000 tons)  is estimated at 2.4 megatons of TNT. That’s enough to wipe out a city.
 
·         Seeing DA14 on its close approach will take dark skies and binoculars or a small telescope. Closest approach is over the Indian Ocean and Indonesia. (see http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov )
 
·         We know there are 500,000 to 1 million asteroids the size of DA14 or larger. So far we have found fewer than 1% of that “cosmic hailstorm” through which we sail in our yearly orbit around the Sun.
 
·         Another impact like the one in 1908 (Tunguska) could happen tomorrow – we can’t predict such an event because our telescopes have a hard time seeing such small asteroids.
 
·         We can prevent these potential disasters: find most of the hazardous asteroids, plan a typical deflection mission, and demonstrate how to nudge a small asteroid in a harmless demonstration.
 
·         The Association of Space Explorers (professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts) recommended in 2008 that the world’s space agencies, working with the UN, together should:
 
o   Conduct a thorough search for hazardous asteroids using new telescopes, sharing the results globally.
 
o   Issue joint warnings for any predicted impacts – a good search will provide ample warning.
 
o   Conduct a mission planning exercise to find the best methods of asteroid deflection.
 
o   Form an international panel to recommend when and how we should attempt to divert an asteroid (and decide how we’ll pay for it)
 
o   Mount an international deflection mission to practice moving a small, harmless asteroid.
 
·         NASA has done most of the discovery work on finding hazardous asteroids and comets, but more can be done – especially search and tracking – by pooling resources and collaborating on mission  planning.
 
·         This week at the United Nations in Vienna (Thursday to Monday), most of the world’s space agencies will discuss how to put in place agreements on information sharing, impact warning, deflection mission planning and preparation, and possible cooperative demonstrations in space of how we can prevent an asteroid strike.
 
·         The Association of Space Explorers encourages these productive discussions. The ASE report “Asteroid Threats” in 2008 proposed a framework for international action on impact prevention.
 
 

 

 

2008

3 October: Decision Program on Asteroid Threat Mitigation (presentation to IAC)

25 September: Excerpt: Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response

22 – 25 September: Workshop IV (San Francisco, CA)

13 – 20 July: The Asteroid Impact Threat: Decisions Upcoming (Presentation to 37th COSPAR)

23 – 26 April: Workshop III (Guanacaste, Costa Rica)

27 February: NEO Status Report

18 February: NEO Presentation to the United Nations


2007

12 – 15 September: Workshop II (Sibiu, Romania)

9 – 12 May: Workshop I (Strasbourg, France)

23 March: Status Report

5 – 9 March: The NEO Threat: International Policy Issues (AIAA Planetary Defense Conference)

21 February: NEO Committee Report to COPUOS


2006

17 November: Status Report

6 August: First NEO Workshop Announcement

31 May: Status Report

20 February – 3 March: ASE Intervention at the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of COPUOS

20 February: Report to the Royal Aeronautical Society & CCLRC


2005

30 November: ASE NEO Committee letter to Action Team-14

14 October: ASE Issues NEO Open Letter to the international community, forms international committee on Near Earth Objects