The White House has released an official NEO (Near-Earth Object) Preparedness Strategy that’s the product of “The Interagency Working Group for Detecting and Mitigating the Impact of Earth-Bound Near-Earth Objects (NEOS) (DAMIEN) of the National Science and Technology Council.” Long title, but important job.
The report highlights seven strategic goals for studying and dealing with a potential asteroid colliding with our home planet.
You know, just in case.
What's that in the sky?
The entire 19-page report is a fascinating read. As indicated in the strategy, the group offers that “while it is highly unlikely that there will be a civilization-ending NEO impact over the next two centuries, the risk of smaller but still catastrophic NEO impacts is real, and there is currently no whole-of-government or international strategy to respond to such an event.” Basically, as it stands right now, we have no system in place for if and when an armageddon bringing Near-Earth Object makes itself known.
In the strategy are broad stroke notions of “prevention” that include actions that would cause such an asteroid to miss the Earth, divert it to hit a relatively safe location or break it up enough to reduce it to less threatening pieces.
While this isn’t likely to actually happen anytime soon, the potential of a massive asteroid hitting Earth is catastrophic. Having a plan like this in place simply makes sense.