NASA’s New Planetary Defense Office Protecting Earth

NASA's New Planetary Defense Office Protecting Earth

By Leonard David

PDCO will synchronize U.S. efforts and coordinate with international agencies
to deal with large asteroids and comets on a collision course with Earth

     In early January, NASA announced the establishment of a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which will synchronize U.S. efforts to deal with threatening near-Earth objects (NEOs) and will supervise all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that visit Earth’s neighborhood.

“There is no identified threat that we know of right now,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s new planetary defense officer.

“Our job is to look for that and identify a NEO as far in advance as we can,” Johnson told in an exclusive interview. “Doing so means we have the maximum amount of time to appropriately deal with the object, be it a small impactor or something that’s larger, calling for a kinetic impactor mission, or whatever needs to be done.” […]

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