1st IAA Planetary Defense Conference:Protecting Earth from Asteroids
The Planetary Defence Conference, with a strong focus on student participation, will be held for the first time in Europe the week of April 27, 2009 in Granada, Spain.
The 1st IAA Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids, co-sponsored by the European Space Agency, is the follow-on to two previous planetary defense conferences held in 2004 in Los Angeles and 2007 in Washington, D.C. Details on the 2004 and 2007 conferences can be found on: http://www.planetarydefense.info.
Objectives of the conference
The 2009 meeting will bring together worldwide experts 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;
- Political, legal and policy issues that must be considered as part of an overall mitigation strategy.
A particular focus will be Apophis, a 300-meter asteroid that is predicted to pass within 40,000 km of Earth in 2029 and has a current probability of impacting our planet in 2036 of 1 in 45000.
At present, there are about 900 asteroids and comets that are designated Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHOs), objects that could eventually threaten Earth. Ground-based observations are increasing this number by more than 600 per year. Experts believe that there could be as many as 20,000 PHO objects larger than 140 meters.
The most recent significant impact occurred in Siberia, Russia, in 1908 when an object estimated to be between 30 and 50 meters in diameter entered the atmosphere and exploded. The blast leveled and ignited over 2000 square kilometers of forest.
Researchers have discovered evidence that a larger object exploded over Canada 18,900 years ago and that this event caused massive fires in North America that caused a 10-degree drop in the average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere for 1000 years.
Asteroids and comets are among our closest neighbours, they form part of our nearest environment in the Solar System. However we still have a great deal to learn about them. We have now some of the technologies that might be needed to prevent these objects from hitting the Earth, but what would actually be required to be sure a threatening object can be tackled? And will we see it coming? The conference will help answer these questions.
Dates and location
27, 28, 29 and 30 April 2009. Granada, Spain.
Sponsors are solicited for the 2009 conference at the $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000 levels.
$10,000 Sponsors will be listed as primary sponsors of the conference and names and logos will be prominently displayed on all conference materials. $10,000 Sponsors will receive five complementary registrations and a block-rate registration fee of $250/person for up to 10 employees.
$5,000 Sponsors will be listed as sponsors and names and logos will be prominently displayed on all conference materials. $5,000 Sponsors will receive two complementary registrations and a block-rate registration fee of $250 for up to 5 employees.
$2,000 Sponsors will be listed as sponsors and names and logos will be prominently displayed on all conference materials. $2,000 Sponsors will receive one complementary registration and a block-rate registration fee of $250 for up to two employees.
Call for papers
Technical paper abstracts (250 to 500 words in length) will be accepted electronically through the official online submission form. Please be sure to designate the topic area your paper addresses (see Session Topics below).
The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 15 December 2008. Letters of official acceptance and instructions for paper submission will be mailed on or before January 15, 2009.
Accepted papers (including poster papers) will be published in the official conference Proceedings. Selected peer-reviewed papers will be published in Acta Astronautica. Authors of all poster papers will be invited to present two-minute overview presentations during the regular session. The format for papers will be that provided on this website as soon as possible.
Information on the PDC and ESA research student competitions is listed below:
- Planetary Defence Conference 'Encounter 2029: Research Students Investigating Apophis'
Post-graduate student researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts on topics covering a variety of subjects that can be related to the theme of Apophis and small body encounters.
- ESA Call for Student Papers
In addition European students may also be interested in entering the "ESA call for student papers"for the same conference. Whereby post-graduate student researchers submit abstracts based on pre-defined concepts.
The conference as currently planned is organized into the following sessions. Suggested topics are listed, but should not be viewed as being exclusive.
SESSION 1: DISCOVERY, TRACKING, CHARACTERIZATION
Status of the discovery program
Options for enhancing detection and tracking of near Earth objects
Latest information on physical characteristics of asteroids (including Apophis) and comets
Recent Earth and Mars close approaches
Characterization of the types of threats faced: approach trajectories, impact probabilities, object sizes, likely warning times
Radar tracking and physical characterization of NEAs
SESSION 2: MISSION & CAMPAIGN DESIGN
Information required to increase the likelihood of success for mitigation or close approach missions
Deflection campaign designs that increase the probability of overall mission success
Intercept orbits and mission time requirements
Design of missions to characterize, track, or deflect threatening NEOs
Engineering considerations for developing and operating a deflector spacecraft (e.g. rapid spacecraft development, integration, testing; autonomy; communications; guidance and control)
SESSION 3: DEFLECTION TECHNOLOGIES & SIMULATIONS
Technologies that might be used against a short term (2 month to 10 year warning), medium term (10-20 year warning), long term (>20 years warning) threats
Effectiveness vs. object size, shape, properties
Interceptor/diverter technology requirements and current status (propulsion, guidance, etc.)
SESSIONS 4: NEO IMPACTS & CONSEQUENCES
Estimates of costs of impacts: financial, social, casualties, etc.
Current information on past NEO impacts (e.g., Tunguska)
SESSION 5: POLICY, PREPAREDNESS, DECIDING TO ACT
Factors that will influence the decision to take or not take action to mitigate a threat
Evolution of a threat (detection, decision to act, action)
Disaster preparation and response; lessons from recent disasters
Public notice, public perception, education
Suggested thresholds for deflection actions
SESSION 6: SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES
Current events and recent legislation
Preparing public opinion and world leaders for a decision
Current UN, space agency activities and plans supporting discovery, tracking, mitigation
Plans for Apophis
Recommended near-term actions