The protection of Earth from hazardous asteroids and comets—planetary defense—is one of the three core enterprises of The Planetary Society. Working through this deep prep session will increase the participant's expertise on the major issues, recent history, and politics driving planetary defense policy in the United States.
General Planetary Defense
- Increasing the Scope of Planetary Defense Activities: Programs, Strategies, and Relevance in a Post-COVID-19 World (PDF) by The Planetary Society. This report was our official recommendations to the scientific community about the importance of planetary defense and how it is a relevant topic after the global experience with COVID-19.
- Selections from the report "Finding Hazardous Asteroids Using Infrared and Visible Wavelength Telescopes" (PDF) by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This provides a helpful primer on planetary defense and why we need a space-based telescope to search for hazardous asteroids. This independent report is a primary justification for the NEO Surveyor mission.
- Asteroid Defense 101 Take The Planetary Society's free online course about the NEO risk and ways to protect our planet.
NEO Surveyor is a proposed space-telescope to seek out and characterize potentially hazardous NEOs, and could launch as early as 2026 if funding were provided this year.
- NEO Surveyor, Protecting Earth from Dangerous Asteroids A high-level overview of the NEO Surveyor mission, one of The Planetary Society's highest priorities for this year.
- NASA Abruptly Delays a Critical Planetary Defense Mission (17 Dec 2020) Further background on how NEO Surveyor was abruptly delayed from its planned development timeline.
Double-Asteroid Redirection Test (DART
DART is a mission in its final development phase and is scheduled to launch late this year. No advocacy is needed for this mission, but it is important to know the current planetary defense mission at NASA.
- Your Guide to the DART mission
- Watch: The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART): Hitting an Asteroid Head On
After this reading, you should be able to:
Clearly explain the concept, importance, and relevance of planetary defense
Understand the threat that near-Earth objects pose to Earth, and what can be done to prevent a potential impact in the future
Explain the need for the NEO Surveyor mission, and how it would address congressionally-mandated goals for NEO detection