The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) 1 telescope on Maui’s Mount Haleakala, Hawaii has produced the most near-Earth object discoveries of the NASA-funded NEO surveys in 2015. Credit: University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy/Rob Ratkowski

The Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) 1 telescope on Maui’s Mount Haleakala, Hawaii has produced the most near-Earth object discoveries of the NASA-funded NEO surveys in 2015.
Credit: University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy/Rob Ratkowski

 

The outlook of Earth being on the receiving end of a menacing asteroid in the future is real – but very much in the celestial cards of chance.

But when the high-stakes card is dealt, responding to a hostile near-Earth object (NEO) is a global challenge.

In early January, NASA announced the establishment of a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) created to coordinate U.S. agencies and intergovernmental efforts to respond to future near-Earth objects that threaten Earth.

Proposed NEOCam space telescope can survey the regions of space closest to the Earth’s orbit, where potentially hazardous asteroids are most likely to be found. NEOCam will use infrared light to characterize their physical properties such as their diameters. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Proposed NEOCam space telescope can survey the regions of space closest to the Earth’s orbit, where potentially hazardous asteroids are most likely to be found. NEOCam will use infrared light to characterize their physical properties such as their diameters.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

 

 

Synchronizing NEO efforts

Among its functions, the PDCO has been set up to not only synchronize NEO efforts in the U.S. but also supervise all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near Earth’s orbit around the sun.

First telescope of the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) system is up and operating on Haleakala. Credit: Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii

First telescope of the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) system is up and operating on Haleakala.
Credit: Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an exclusive interview, I talked with the chief of that office, NASA’s Lindley Johnson.

Go to my new Space.com story on how Johnson sees the office shaping up and goals for 2016 at:

NASA’s New Planetary Defense Office Gets to Work Protecting Earth

By Leonard David, Space.com’s Space Insider Columnist

January 29, 2016 07:52am ET

http://www.space.com/31770-nasa-planetary-defense-office-asteroid-threat.html

Leave a Reply

Griffith Observatory Event