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  • Decision Program on Asteroid Threat Mitigation

    Paper number



    Mr. Russell Schweickart, Association of Space Explorers, United States



    The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) formed its Committee on Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) at
    its 2005 annual Congress in order to bring the challenges of protecting the Earth from NEO impacts
    to the attention of world leaders. The ASE realized that early warning efforts (discovery, tracking,
    cataloging, and impact prediction) were being addressed by national and academic institutions, and
    that deflection concepts were beginning to be investigated by private and governmental organizations.
    Unaddressed, however, was the difficult but essential development of a coordinated, international decisionmaking
    process for NEO deflection and mitigation. Realizing that near-term decisions might need to be
    taken in case a NEO impact threat is discovered the ASE NEO Committee decided to devote its efforts
    to working with the international community to bring a formal decision-making program into being.
    Coordinating its efforts with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
    (COPUOS), the ASE organized a series of four international workshops attended by eighteen invited
    preeminent international experts with extensive diplomatic, legal and technical experience to prepare a
    draft Decision Program for Asteroid Threat Mitigation for consideration by COPUOS and its Scientific
    and Technical Subcommittee in 2009. The panel of experts (Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation, PATM)
    met over a period of 2 years to define and propose solutions for the multitude of international socio-political
    issues involved in deciding to take action in response to a specific asteroid impact threat.
    This effort culminated in September 2008 at the ASE’s final workshop, held in the San Francisco Bay
    Area. The PATM adopted and transmitted the recommended Program to the Action Team on Near-Earth
    Objects established by COPUOS to deal with these issues. The Action Team will guide the introduction
    and consideration of the Decision Program by COPUOS and its Scientific and Technical Subcommittee
    during their 2009 sessions.
    To facilitate this consideration and deliberation process the ASE is conducting a series of formal
    national briefings to Member States of the United Nations to familiarize key political and technical
    representatives with the provisions of the decision-making process.
    This IAC presentation of the ASE Decision Program for Asteroid Threat Mitigation will highlight
    possible solutions to the technical and political challenges inherent in taking coordinated international
    action (or deciding not to act) when a possible asteroid impact confronts the global community.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.E8.4.16.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.