Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 19 submissions in the queue.

Submission Preview

Link to Story

NASA Formalizes Planetary Defense Coordination Office to Track Asteroids

Accepted submission by takyon at 2016-01-11 23:26:49
Science

NASA has launched a Planetary Defense Coordination Office [nasa.gov] to reorganize its approach to asteroid detection and response [nasa.gov]:

NASA has formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The office remains within NASA's Planetary Science Division, in the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The office will be responsible for supervision of all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near Earth's orbit around the sun. It will also take a leading role in coordinating interagency and intergovernmental efforts in response to any potential impact threats.

More than 13,500 near-Earth objects of all sizes have been discovered to date -- more than 95 percent of them since NASA-funded surveys began in 1998. About 1,500 NEOs are now detected each year.

"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."

NASA has been engaged in worldwide planning for planetary defense for some time, and this office will improve and expand on those efforts, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies and departments.

The move follows a 2014 audit [theregister.co.uk] of NASA's asteroid detection activities that found [nasa.gov] a lack of "oversight, objectives, and established milestones".


Original Submission