In January 2016 NASA formally established the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The PDCO also includes the Near-Earth Object Observations (NEOO) Program whose primary objective is to find, track, and characterize near-Earth objects (NEOs) (i.e., those natural bodies that come within 1.3 AU of the Sun). Since 1998, when the NEOO Program was established, NASA-funded programs have discovered > 98% of all new NEOs and it now coordinates with the International Asteroid Warning Network. A potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) is a dynamical subset of NEOs which, by definition, have a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of ≤ 0.05 AU (i.e., 7.5 x 106 km) of the Earth’s orbit. In addition to the detection, tracking and follow-up characterization of these bodies, the PDCO is responsible for leading interagency and international efforts to develop techniques and technologies to deflect PHOs that are predicted to be on an impact course with Earth. Further, the PDCO will enable NASA to communicate timely and accurate information to the Government, the media and the public. To enable efficient communication in a crisis, NASA’s PDCO has engaged in interagency and international efforts to broaden awareness among government organizations about the impact risk and to engage in productive dialog on how the risks from PHOs might be reduced or mitigated. This presentation will summarize current activities and progress to date.
*Planetary Defense Coordination Office, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, 300 E St SW, Washington DC 20546
ƚNational Institute of Aerospace, 100 Exploration Way, Hampton, VA 23666