The UN Has Finished Preparing Earth for a Massive Asteroid Strike

Thursday, 12 March 2015 - 4:23PM
Science News
Thursday, 12 March 2015 - 4:23PM
The UN Has Finished Preparing Earth for a Massive Asteroid Strike

The UN's Action Team 14, which for the last seven years has been tasked with setting up an international response to a deadly asteroid threat, has now been officially dissolved, ostensibly because their mission has been completed.

 

"Action Team 14 coordinated the establishment of the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) and the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN), and thus played a vital role in the international community's response to any potential near-Earth object impact threat," said Elöd Both of Hungary, chair of the UN's Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, of which Action Team 14 was an offshoot.

 

So essentially, during their seven-year existence, Action Team 14 served to set up two other organizations. IAWN's function is to identify Near-Earth Object (NEO) threats, while SMPAG was established to facilitate information exchange between countries when the time comes to prevent or mitigate a disastrous impact.

 

"Everyone's contributions made possible that IAWN and SMPAG now exist and have work plans for the next several years. Their existence is truly a tangible and very important step in protecting Earth from an impact by an asteroid or in mitigating the consequences if the Earth should receive an impact," said Sergio Camacho, the chair of Action Team 14.

 

IAWN and SMPAG haven't released their full plans yet, but as of now, it seems that Action Team 14's seven years of planning for an asteroid impact consisted of creating two more organizations that would keep planning.

 

Former NASA astronaut Tom Jones said of the dissolution, "As the Action Team 14 closes out its activities at the United Nations, with well-deserved recognition, what the UN must now sponsor are discussions on how to authorize and execute an international deflection effort, so that those vital details are in place when we are confronted by an impact threat." So, now that the planning committee has been dissolved, the UN needs to do more planning? Personally, I'm not sure how prepared I feel for a devastating asteroid impact at this point.

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