Join Donate

Planetary Defense

The Planetary Society recognizes the threat that asteroids and comets–known as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs)–represent. While an asteroid strike could have devastating effects, the good news is that an asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that is completely preventable. Our role in planetary defense ranges from our Laser Bees project to redirect asteroids, to our Shoemaker NEO grant program to support astronomers who seek to discover, observe and track NEOs.

We are also committed to educating about the asteroid threat and The Planetary Society’s 5 Step Plan to Prevent Asteroid Impact. As a special edition of our Random Space Fact video series, we have produced a series of 6 fun, short videos to introduce you to the asteroid threat and The Planetary Society’s 5 Step Plan:

For updates on Planetary Defense and other Planetary Society news and activities, be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter, The Planetary Post.

  Please enter your email address

*

 

By signing up, you agree to receive periodic updates and communications from The Planetary Society.

 

What's this?

   Please leave this field empty

You can learn more about what The Planetary Society is doing below. Also, check out NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office, who we coordinated with on our videos.

Asteroids and Comets

Is there an asteroid or comet out there that poses a risk to life on Earth? The answer is certainly "yes," but we don't yet know where the next major impactor will come from or when it will crash. The best way to size up the threat and reduce this uncertainty is to search the skies for these crumbs of the solar system, categorizing asteroids and comets using the Torino Scale.

An Asteroid This Way Comes

The Planetary Society / Kim Orr

An Asteroid This Way Comes
What are near-Earth objects and how could they affect us?

Shoemaker NEO Grant Program

The Planetary Society established the Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grant program to award amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and professional astronomers who, with seed funding, can greatly increase their programs' contributions to NEO research. Grant recipients have played critical roles in tracking small asteroids that were discovered by major asteroid survey programs, and providing the crucial follow-up observations to determine precise orbits for these objects.

Learn More »

Laser Bees

We've been working with a team at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow in Scotland to study a new technique which uses concentrated light to gently move an asteroid – a project we called "Mirror Bees" – using mirrors on several spacecraft swarming around an asteroid to focus sunlight onto a spot on the asteroid. As part of the initial Mirror Bees project, researchers found that lasers are more effective than mirrors and can be used from greater distances. So, now the project is called "Laser Bees."

Learn More »

Defending Earth

The Planetary Society / Kim Orr

Defending Earth
The Planetary Society's 5-step plan for tackling the asteroid threat.

Blogs about Planetary Defense

Saving the World: Shoemaker NEO Grant Winners Announced

Bruce Betts • April 17, 2013 • 2

What do the discovery of close fly by asteroid 2012 DA14 and the most productive near Earth object (NEO) follow-up tracking program in the world have in common? They were both made possible by Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grants. And, now, we again invest in the future and defending against the asteroid threat to Earth. NEO Shoemaker Award winners for 2013 announced.

This Week at The Planetary Defense Conference

Bruce Betts • April 16, 2013 • 2

Bruce Betts and The Planetary Society are at the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference (PDC) in Flagstaff, Arizona. The PDC is held every two years and brings together world experts in saving the world from asteroid impact. The Planetary Society has long been a co-sponsor of the conference. The newest winners in our Shoemaker NEO Grants program will be announced on Wednesday a the conference.

The Sky Was Falling! A Meteoric Airburst Over Russia and the Encounter with 2012 DA14

Mat Kaplan • February 18, 2013

SEE IT NOW: The Planetary Society's CEO, Bill Nye the Science Guy, joined Director of Projects Bruce Betts for a live webcast as 2012 DA14, a 45-meter asteroid, was passing Earth. Bill and Bruce also marveled at video of the meteor burst high over a city in Russia.

Items 16 - 18 of 22  Previous12345678Next

Planetary Defense Projects

Shoemaker Near-Earth Object Grant Program

Planetary Society's Shoemaker Grant program supports astronomers following up potentially hazardous asteroids.

Laser Bees

What do we do if an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth? At this point, the answer is not clear, so The Planetary Society has partnered with researchers to discover ways to protect Earth when we one-day find a dangerous space rock.

MER
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

Near Earth Object
Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent.

Donate

You are here: