University of Sussex
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Planetary Defense team project: READI (Roadmap for EArth Defense Initiatives)

posted on 2023-06-08, 23:44 authored by Alaa Hussein, Anushree Soni, Bora Aliaj, Carlos Entrena, Chanwoo Lee, Doron Shterman, Fernando Gonzalez, Hugh Byrne, Idriss Sisaid, Jackelynne Silva, James McCreight, Jessica Reinert, Jonathan Faull, Lars Hoving, Laura Bettiol, Louis Neophytou, Marianne Girard, Naama Glauber, Nicholas Strzalkowski, Nikola Schmidt, Oshri Rozenheck, Parker Stratton, Rémi Gourdon, Shajiha Meeran, Shangrong Ouyang, Shitao Ji, Toby Call, Susanne Peters, Tihomir Dimitrov, Shrrirup Nambiar, Umang Parikh, Yunjun Yang, Yuxian Jia, Zheng Fang
Planetary Defense is a complex problem, not well understood by policy makers and the general public. The recent Chelyabinsk incident in Russia created temporary international attention but has failed to effectively stimulate public action. The lack of long-term attention to cosmic hazards has resulted in limited funding to defend our planet. Hence, it is hard to realistically address this challenge and achieve the high test and operational readiness needed for an effective Planetary Defense strategy. To address this problem, we have created a set of recommendations for the development of a Planetary Defense Program, for the purpose of contributing to the protection of Earth from asteroids and comets. The SSP15 READI Project focused on threats for which there is only a short-term warning, specifically a warning of two years or less from detection of the object to impact. We have provided recommendations in five areas of Planetary Defense including detection and tracking, deflection techniques, global collaboration, outreach and education, and evacuation and recovery. We have applied this set of recommendations in a narrative scenario to make our report more impactful and engaging. We contrast optimistic and pessimistic outcomes for a comet threat, differing from each other in terms of the level of readiness achieved during the years leading up to the discovery of the threat. In our optimistic scenario, the deflection system has achieved high test and operational readiness. The world’s governments have realized the importance of being prepared against cosmic hazards and put in place all of the necessary measures for a successful defense, leading to a positive deflection of the comet. In contrast, in the pessimistic scenario no preparation is done before the detection, and the comet strikes a heavily populated area releasing energy equivalent to 80 times the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated. The recommendations that we have identified in this report constitute a roadmap to avoid this horrible outcome, and we believe they should be taken seriously and swiftly implemented.


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  • Published

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  • Published version


International Space University (ISU)



Place of publication

Ohio, USA

Department affiliated with

  • Engineering and Design Publications


International Space University (ISU)

Full text available

  • Yes


Madhu Thangavelu, Thomas Wilson, Jim Burke

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