A milestone-making report on the need to develop an
international decision-making program to respond to the threat of Near
Earth Objects (NEOs) has been briefed to United Nations officials in
The report --
Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response
-- was compiled by the international Panel on Asteroid Threat
Mitigation, a group comprised of members of the Association of Space
Explorers (ASE), as well as other experts tackling the NEO threat and
repercussions to the Earth.
Former NASA Apollo astronaut, Russell
Schweickart, is chairman of the panel and led the November 25
consultation with UN officials.
The briefing on the ASE-NEO
report, its findings and implications, was given to a group of national
representatives from the Permanent Missions to the United Nations in
Vienna, in cooperation with One Earth Future Foundation.
session was opened by Austrian Ambassador Helmut Böck who, along with
Ciro A. Arévalo Yepes, the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), and Mazlan Othman, Head of the United
Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UN-OOSA) sponsored the briefing.
report is being submitted for consideration and subsequent action by
the United Nations, with the goal to assist the international community
in preventing loss of life and property resulting from an asteroid
impact on Earth.
As the report underscores, there is need for a world-wide response to NEOs and the implications for Earth.
with such a threat, we are far from helpless. Astronomers today can
detect a high proportion of Near Earth Objects and predict potential
collisions with the Earth. Evacuation and mitigation plans can be
prepared to cope with an unavoidable impact,” the report explains.
the first time in our planet's 4.5-billion-year history, the technical
capacities exist to prevent such cosmic collisions with Earth. The keys
to a successful outcome in all cases are preparation, planning, and
timely decision-making,” the report states.
Secure World Foundation (SWF) has a working relationship with the
Association of Space Explorers and the Schweickart-chaired ASE Panel on
Asteroid Threat Mitigation.
“We share a common interest in NEO
governance. We also want to promote the results of their two-year
process that has led to the report being submitted for consideration
and subsequent action by the United Nations,” explained Cynda Collins
Arsenault, President of the Secure World Foundation.
briefings are very important in terms of the UN receiving our report.
There is only one institution in the world that represents everybody,”
Schweickart said. To prevent an actual impact, he added, an
international decision-making program, including necessary
institutional requirements, must be agreed upon and implemented within
the framework of the United Nations.
Schweickart also noted that
briefings on the ASE-NEO report have been given to officials of several
space agencies: The Indian Space Research Organization, the Canadian
Space Agency, as well as NASA. Future briefings are being negotiated
with the European Space Agency, China, Japan and Russia, he said.
the close of the UN briefing in Vienna, former Austrian Ambassador
Walther Lichem -- a member of the ASE International Panel on Asteroid
Threat Mitigation -- made closing comments on the need for the UN
“system” to deal seriously with the need for building the institutional
capability to support the decision-making process ultimately required.
Reporter’s Note: For access to the report,
Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response, please go to: