While the rest of us worry about the coming swine flu pandemic, engineers and astronomers are meeting in Granada, Spain to discuss the prospects for defending the Earth from Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).
The IAA Planetary Defense Conference, sponsored by the European Space Agency and the The Aerospace Corporation is a follow-on to two previous conferences in 2004 and 2007.
The goal of the conference is to discuss:
- Detecting and tracking asteroids and comets that might be hazardous to our planet,
- Characteristics of these objects,
- Deflecting a threatening object should one be detected,
- The nature of impact disasters, and
- Political, legal and policy issues that must be considered as part of an overall mitigation strategy.
Abstracts from the conference can be found at the ESA’s Congrex site.
A.C. Charania is liveblogging the day’s events at Planetary Defense.
Bruce Betts of the Planetary Society is also providing updates from the conference.