October 28, 2010
NASA, America's space
agency, is being charged with leading the way to protect
against an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.
And a top White House science adviser says we have to be
prepared for such a horrifying scenario.
In separate 10-page letters to the House Committee on Science and
Technology and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and
Transportation, John Holdren, director of the White House
Office of Science and Technology Policy, or
OSTP, outlines plans
"(A) protecting the United States
from a near-Earth object that is expected to collide with Earth;
and (B) implementing a deflection campaign, in consultation with
international bodies, should one be necessary."
The White House has asked Congress to
consider how to best deal with the potential threat to Earth of an
impact with an asteroid from space.
It may seem that Earth could be the target of a giant rock from
space, so Holdren insists that,
"the possibility of a future
collision involving a more hazardous object should not be
NASA's Near Earth Object program, or
NEO, looks for and monitors asteroids that are at least a kilometer
But, as Holdren points out, one problem in the search is that,
"the orbits of known objects can be
changed by gravitational or solar radiation perturbations, or
even collisions with other objects, meaning that periodic
monitoring of known NEOs must also be conducted."
The White House OSTP office is working
to establish plans and procedures in the event of a NEO threat to
One of those plans involves using the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA),
in the Department of Homeland Security, to handle responsibilities
on the ground regarding an NEO threat.
After an asteroid-to-Earth trajectory is determined to impact an
area of the U.S., FEMA would notify the population through the
National Warning System and it would begin emergency response
Holdren's letter also indicates the importance of notifying other
countries of an impending
"in an effort to minimize the
potential loss of life and property."
So the good news is that high-level
discussions are on the plate as to how Earth can defend itself
against the onslaught of a potential disaster from space.
The bad news:
There's no plan set up. For the time being, we're
staying out of harm's way.
Here is the entire text of Holdren's
letter to Congress:
Documents & Reports: October
15, 2010 - OSTP Response to Congress on Near-Earth Objects:
This White House preparation against an
asteroid collision, really means they are facing the Hercolubus
inbound with unease because they cannot do anything.
The solution is
not collective but individual, when that happens every person that
gets prepared will be saved but if you did not do anything to
conscience level you will not have any chance to