Source: The White House
Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets that orbit the Sun but have orbits that can bring them into Earth’s neighborhood-within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit. Planetary defense encompasses all the capabilities needed to detect and warn of potential 10-meter and larger NEO impacts with Earth, and to either prevent such an event or mitigate the possible effects of an impact.
This National Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan for Near-Earth Object Hazards and Planetary Defense (2023 Planetary Defense Strategy) updates the United States’ first comprehensive Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan, released in 2018. The 2023 Planetary Defense Strategy builds on existing efforts by Federal Departments and Agencies to address the hazard of NEO impacts, includes evaluation of where progress has been made since 2018, and focuses future work on planetary defense across the U.S. government.
The 2023 Planetary Defense Strategy focuses on six goals in total across Federal Departments and Agencies for the decade ahead:
Goal 1: Enhance NEO detection, tracking, and characterization capabilities. Early detection and tracking of a potential NEO impact threat provides the greatest leverage to adequately respond in time to prevent loss of life and damage to critical infrastructure.
Goal 2: Improve NO modeling, prediction, and information integration. Departments and Agencies will coordinate the development of validated modeling tools and simulation capabilities that aid in characterizing and mitigating NO impact risks while integrating and streamlining data flows to support effective decision-making.
Goal 3: Develop technologies for NO reconnaissance, deflection, and disruption missions.
NASA will continue to lead development of technologies that could potentially be used in fast-response NEO reconnaissance missions and timely missions to deflect or disrupt hazardous
Goal 4: Increase international cooperation on NO preparedness. The potentially cataclysmic consequences of a NEO impact, independent of national borders and geopolitical dynamics, presents special opportunity for engagement with the international community to foster cooperation in joint research and response efforts.
Goal 5: Strengthen and routinely exercise NO impact emergency procedures and action protocols. The United States will strengthen and exercise procedures and protocols for assessment of NO threats, communication-including to the public and international community-regarding threats, and response and recovery activities.
Goal 6: Improve U.S. management of planetary defense through enhanced interagency collaboration. Actions under this goal will improve ongoing coordination and implementation on projects across Federal agency boundaries.