On the 2022 Day of Action we ask space advocates around the world to support the global effort to defend the Earth from asteroid impacts. This is crucial work that needs international support and sustained investment. Here's how you can help.
International Planetary Defense Advocacy
Does the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) include representation from your country?
Recommended by the United Nations in 2013, IAWN is a collaboration of observatories, research institutions, space agencies, and others who work to find, track, and characterize near-Earth asteroids. By sharing data and coordinating efforts, members of IAWN help keep us prepared against potential asteroid threats.
As a space advocate, you can help make sure that your country is involved in this crucial international planetary defense effort. Here are the steps you can take:
First, look up the list of IAWN members: https://iawn.net/about/members.shtml
Search for your country’s name and the name of your national space agency (e.g. a Canadian resident might search “Canada,” “Canadian Space Agency,” and “CSA”).
If your country is not represented, you can advocate for your leaders in government and/or directors of observatories in your country to take part. It will be up to you to find the contact information for the relevant contact people, since The Planetary Society doesn’t have the resources to do this for every country in which we have members.
Once you’ve found the relevant point(s) of contact, send them this message:
To whom it may concern [or personalize the greeting],
I am writing to urge [name of space agency or observatory] to become a member of the International Asteroid Warning Network.
Asteroids pose a serious threat to life on Earth. An impact could cause massive devastation on a local, regional, or even global scale, but this is a danger that can be averted. National space agencies, observatories, and amateur astronomers around the world are already searching the night skies to find, track and characterize near-Earth asteroids, but more observing time needs to be dedicated to this effort. International systems of coordination and impact preparedness are in place, but more government leaders and researchers need to be involved.
The International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) was recommended by the United Nations to collaborate on these activities. Every national space agency should be a member, as should every observatory with the ability to observe potentially hazardous asteroids.
As a concerned citizen, I am asking [name of space agency or observatory] to sign on as an IAWN member to contribute to this vital international effort.
You can learn more about the IAWN and membership at iawn.net/about.shtml
If your country is already involved in the IAWN, it’s worth reaching out to your government representatives and/or space agency leadership to show your support for this involvement. You can also share your support by acknowledging their work on social media. Advocacy can be effective at the social as well as policy level, and positive reinforcement like this can go a long way to ensuring continued investment in planetary defense.
We encourage you to CC [email protected] on your email message(s) so that we can track these advocacy efforts and any replies that come in.
Thank you for doing your part to defend the Earth from impacts.