‘Near Earth Objects’ Shield to Assess Earth Defense
NEOShield is a new international project that will assess the threat posed by Near Earth Objects (NEO) and look at the best possible solutions for dealing with a big asteroid or comet on a collision path with our planet. The major EU-funded initiative will pull together all the latest science, initiate a fair few laboratory experiments and new modeling work, and then try to come to some definitive positions in considering the engineering architecture required to deflect one of these bodies out of our path.
The NEO threat may seem rather distant, but the geological and observational records tell us it is real. On average, an object about the size of car will enter the Earth’s atmosphere once a year, producing a spectacular fireball in the sky. About every 2,000 years or so, an object the size of a football field will impact the Earth, causing significant local damage. And then, every few million years, a rock turns up that has a girth measured in kilometres. An impact from one of these will produce global effects.