PLANETARY DEFENSE: A New Look
Dr. Nahum Melamed
A future asteroid strike on Earth in a virtual certainty. It may not be large enough to wipe out humanity, but may well be large enough to challenge agriculture, weather patterns and other facets of human life on our planet. Most projections estimate a major impact every few million years at the outside—and some suggest that we are overdue. Only a few nations have seriously considered this problem to date, and much larger initiatives are needed. Advance warning is the first step—we must know about potentially dangerous Near Earth Objects (NEOs) as early as possible in order to provide early warning and possibly divert them. Steps were taken to improve our detection capability in the past decade, with a ten-times increase in budgeting for this program in the U.S. Once an incoming threat is detected, a program of diversion or mitigation must be initiated to push the asteroid (or potentially a comet as well) off course and away from its destructive rendezvous with Earth. As Dr. Melamed will discuss, these interventions will be technically challenging and expensive, and can be best accomplished by a consortium of national governments.
Dr. Nahum Melamed of the Aerospace Corporation has been studying planetary defense for many years and will be presenting multiple dramatic and engaging talks on the subject at ISDC 2018. His recent paper on the subject can be found here
Thur, May 24, 3:30 p.m., Fri, May 25, 11 a.m., Sat, May 27, 11 a.m.