Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Quote of the week

NASA's new Planetary Defense Coordination Office will have a critical role not only in coordination, but in funding projects for asteroid detection and deflection. B612 has led the call to increase the detection rate by a factor of 100X, and NASA’s new Planetary Defense office can be a major player in achieving such gains if they invest wisely. During the next decade, new telescopes like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will be operational and, in tandem with proposed space-based telescopes (like Sentinel and NEOCam), can greatly improve our early detection capability for impacting asteroids. With this certain flood of new asteroid discoveries will come the responsibility to ensure that governments and the public are kept informed of any threats, and that we have technical options for diverting an asteroid should it be necessary.   
While there is much to celebrate about this development, what is really important is how well NASA actually succeeds in carrying out the mandate of the PDCO. There is still work to be done, including the actual funding of an infrared space telescope for finding asteroids, and recognizing that Planetary Defense is not wholly a science problem (but rather also a technical and policy problem). The good news is that the goals and responsibilities are clearly laid out, so NASA can be held accountable. Rest assured that B612 will be monitoring closely and speaking out as needed!
That's B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu

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