In June, the full Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will consider the proposed Near-Earth Object agreement (download a PDF here) for adoption. Under its terms, when we (inevitably) find an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, the Committee will inform the rest of the U.N., and recommend possible options. If time is short, the Security Council could commission national space agencies to execute a deflection campaign. Last week’s Chelyabinsk event may have shocked us into the realization that to survive an asteroid together, we must act together.
Tom Jones is a planetary scientist, veteran astronaut, and chairman of the Association of Space Explorers’ Near-Earth Object Committee.