Target Earth, asking candidates about science, SETI, and the rovers
I've been remiss in telling you all about a lot of new stuff on the website lately, including some new initiatives of The Planetary Society to advocate for changes in public policy.
The biggest one of those is "Target Earth," an initiative marking the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska impact, which happened on June 30, 1908. On that date, a meteor exploded in the air above a Russian forest, leveling 2,000 square kilometers of it and killing many animals; it's unknown if the calamity killed any humans, but if it did, their names are lost to memory. Such impacts happen from time to time on Earth and it's fortunately far more likely for them to happen over water than over land (just because there's more water than land on Earth), and far more likely for them to happen over uninhabited than inhabited areas (for the same reason), but if a roll of the cosmic dice produces a Tunguska over a city of any size it would be a terrible disaster. Unlike most natural disasters, though, by applying current technology we have a chance to predict exactly when and where a large impact will happen, which provides a great opportunity to prevent it or at least reduce the resulting damage. Target Earth is intended to raise the profile of near-Earth objects, to educate the public and to encourage increased efforts, both public and private, to find and track potential hazards and mitigate any predictable disasters.