Newswise — An expert group of scientists, reporters, and risk management specialists have taken part in a Near Earth Object Media/Risk Communications workshop.
Output from these professionals is helping to draft a report for the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, the Working Group dedicated to organizing an approach that counters the potential threat posed by Near Earth Objects, or NEOs.
Specifically, that UN Working Group in its deliberations is appraising establishment of an Information, Analysis and Warning Network (IAWN).
The team of workshop participants included leading journalists and writers, hazard communication authorities, artists and NEO researchers. The invite-only setting for the meeting – held November 14-15 – was the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
This NEO Media/Risk Communications Workshop was convened by Secure World Foundation and the Association of Space Explorers.
Reach, teach, and motivate
Among issues discussed during the two-day workshop:
-- What are effective tools to empower audiences with a tangible outreach and education plan, one that fosters accurate and timely information about the possible effects of a potentially hazardous NEO and what actionable steps can they take?
-- How best to inform the public regarding NEOs and any Earth-threatening object in a way to avoid misinformation?
-- What steps can be taken to develop an outreach and education plan, one that offers accurate and timely information about the possible effects of a potentially hazardous NEO?
Secure World Foundation has a long-standing interest for maintaining a vigilant eye on NEOs, as well as the establishment of a Planetary Defense strategy.
The consequences stemming from a NEO plowing into the Earth depends on its size and trajectory. Damage could range from destruction of an area the size of a city, to creation of tsunamis, to far greater after-effects.
“Establishment of a Planetary Defense strategy includes a number of components, from finding potentially hazardous objects, predicting their future locations, and providing warning about future impacts with the Earth,” said Dr. Ray Williamson, Executive Director of Secure World Foundation.
Furthermore, a Planetary Defense strategy also includes missions to deflect impacting asteroids by changing their orbit, as well as disaster preparedness management and, in the event of a NEO strike, shaping a mitigation and recovery plan to counteract consequences.
Resources and contacts
The need for an IAWN had been identified in Asteroid Threats: A Call for a Global Response, a report prepared by an expert panel convened by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) to assist the work of the UN COPUOS Action Team on Near-Earth Objects (AT-14), which was established in 2001.
For further information on Secure World Foundation and this week’s Near Earth Object Media/Risk Communications Working Group meeting, contact:
Dr. Ray Williamson, Executive Director
Secure World Foundation
Cell Phone: 1-303-501-0430
Leonard David, Senior Research Associate
Secure World Foundation
About Secure World Foundation
Secure World Foundation (SWF) is a private operating foundation dedicated to the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of Earth and all its peoples.
SWF engages with academics, policy makers, scientists and advocates in the space and international affairs communities to support steps that strengthen global space sustainability. It promotes the development of cooperative and effective use of space for the protection of Earth’s environment and human security.
The Foundation acts as a research body, convener and facilitator to advocate for promoting key space security and other space related topics and to examine their influence on governance and international development.
Secure World Foundation is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium.