SWF Co-sponsors the 2013 Planetary Defense Conference

Monday, April 15, 2013

SWF was a major sponsor of the 2013 Planetary Defense Conference (PDC), held April 15-19 in Flagstaff Arizona, along with NASA, ESA, Aerospace Corporation and Northern Arizona University. Much of the PDC was devoted to sharing recent research on impacts of Near Earth Objects on Earth and how to mitigate the risks of damage. Ray Williamson was one of the conference co-organizers. He is co-author with journalist and former SWF staff member, Leonard David, of a paper reviewing the public communication challenges of a predicted asteroid impact on Earth presented in the session entitled Consequence Management and Education. Michael Simpson and Ray Williamson attended the conference and took part in the informal discussions. 

Two of the highlights of the conference were a public pre-conference session on the results of recent research on the Chelyabinsk, Russia asteroid strike and a final session in which participants were given an evolving scenario of a fictional potential asteroid impact in 2028. Participants divided into groups representing various interest groups to decide how to respond to the evolving scenario. This scenario, which involved a path of impact cutting from near the North Pole, across central Europe to North Africa, demonstrated, among other things how complex and broad would be the various interactions among asteroid experts, mission planners, disaster response managers, the media and the public. See http://www.iaaconferences.org/pdc2013/ for conference particulars. Videos of the conference sessions are available online: http://www.livestream.com/pdc2013/folder.

Last updated on December 26, 2013