ASE Concludes First Workshop on Near Earth Objects, Aimed at Preventing Future Impacts
The rapid acceleration of the discovery of the population of near-Earth objects (NEOs), the magnitude of the devastation should an impact occur, and the evolving technical capability to deflect asteroids from impact given sufficient early warning have convinced the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) that now is the time to establish a clear, internationally-coordinated decision process for coping with the threat of impacts from space.
The ASE successfully conducted its first Workshop on Near Earth Objects from May 9-12, 2007, at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. The ASE's Near Earth Object Committee organized and funded the workshop, the first of four, bringing together an experienced panel of principals to draft an agreement on an international response to the NEO impact hazard for submission to the United Nations in 2009.
The first workshop included expert briefings on the NEO impact threat: status of global search and detection programs; technical methods for NEO deflection; international legal precedents for a NEO agreement; and diplomatic and programmatic efforts that may best address the threat. The Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation laid out its goals for the next three workshops, including the outlines of their proposed international framework for NEO decision-making.
The United Nations were represented at the workshop by observers from the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its NEO Action Team 14, which will receive the draft framework in 2009.
The ASE's second NEO workshop will convene in Sibiu, Romania, from 12-15 September 2007. Planning for the final two workshops in 2008 is underway.
The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an international nonprofit professional and educational organization of over 300 individuals from 30 nations who have flown in space. Founded in 1985, ASE's mission is to provide a forum for professional dialogue among individuals who have flown in space, support space science and exploration for the benefit of all, promote education in science and engineering, foster greater environmental awareness, and encourage international cooperation in the human exploration of space.
Inquiries are welcome to the ASE-USA Executive Director, Mr. Andy Turnage, at:
The Association of Space Explorers