United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Working Group on Near-Earth Objects

UNOOSA serves as the Secretariat to the Working Group on Near-Earth Objects of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and supports the work of the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects.

A near-Earth object (NEO) is an asteroid or comet whose trajectory brings it within 1.3 astronomical units of the Sun and hence within 0.3 astronomical units, or approximately 45 million kilometres, of the Earth's orbit. This includes objects that will come close to the Earth at some point in their future orbital evolution. NEOs generally result from objects that have experienced gravitational perturbations from nearby planets, moving them into orbits that allow them to come near to the Earth.

The issues involved in protecting the Earth from an asteroid impact could be put simply as: (a) finding them, (b) determining the risk of impact, (c) deciding on a course of action in cases where the risk is relatively high and, if a deflection is necessary, (d) implementing a space mission campaign to deflect the asteroid.

These activities involve diverse and complex scenarios that can be best addressed through international cooperation.

 

In 2007, the Working Group on Near-Earth Objects was established by the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee with the expectation that it would propose international procedures to address the NEO threat for consideration by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The Working Group meets under the multi-year workplan which will be finalized in 2013.

In 2013, the Working Group on NEOs will:

(a) Consider the reports submitted in response to the annual request for information on near-Earth object activities and continue intersessional work.

(b) Review progress on international cooperation and collaboration on NEO observations and on the capability for the exchange, processing, archiving and dissemination of data for the purpose of NEO threat detection.

(c) Finalize the agreement on international procedures for handling the NEO threat and engage international stakeholders.

(d) Consider the final report of the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects.

(e) Review progress made in activating the work of IAWN and the mission planning and operations group, and assess their performance.

 

Reports of the Working Group are contained in Annex III of the Reports of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee:

 

Document Symbol Year of Issue

Title of Document

Available Languages

Arabic

Chinese

English

French

Russian

Spanish

A/AC.105/1001

2012

Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-ninth session, held in Vienna from 6 to 17 February 2012

PDF-A

PDF-C

PDF-E

PDF-F

PDF-R

PDF-S

A/AC.105/987

2011

Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-eighth session, held in Vienna from 7 to 18 February 2011

PDF-A

PDF-C

PDF-E

PDF-F

PDF-R

PDF-S

A/AC.105/958

2010

Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-seventh session, held in Vienna from 8 to 19 February 2010

PDF-A

PDF-C

PDF-E

PDF-F

PDF-R

PDF-S

A/AC.105/933

2009

Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-sixth session, held in Vienna from 9 to 20 February 2009

PDF-A

PDF-C

PDF-E

PDF-F

PDF-R

PDF-S

A/AC.105/911

2008

Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-fifth session, held in Vienna from 11 to 22 February 2008

PDF-A

PDF-C

PDF-E

PDF-F

PDF-R

PDF-S

A/AC.105/890

2007

Report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-fourth session, held in Vienna from 12 to 23 February 2007

PDF-A

PDF-C

PDF-E

PDF-F

PDF-R

PDF-S

Scientific and Technical Subcommittee 2013: Presentations made during the Working Group

Report of the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects: Recommendations for an international response to a NEO threat
S. Camacho, Chair, Action Team on NEOs
Powerpoint Presentation
NEO Threat Detection and Warning: Plans for an International Asteroid Warning Network
T. Spahr, USA
Powerpoint Presentation
Mitigation of the NEO Impact Threat
L. Drube, Germany
Powerpoint Presentation
Recommendations of the Action Team on NEOs for an International Response to the Near-Earth Object Impact Threat
L. Johnson, USA & D. Koschny, ESA
Powerpoint Presentation
Flyby of 2012 DA14: Preliminary Results
USA
Powerpoint Presentation
Chelyabinsk Event 15 Feb 2013: Initial Preliminary Analysis
USA
Powerpoint Presentation

 

The Action Team on Near-Earth Objects

The Action Team on Near-Earth Objects was established in 2001 by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in response to recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III).

The mandate of the Action Team is to:

(a) Review the content, structure and organization of ongoing efforts in the field of near-Earth objects;

(b) Identify any gaps in the ongoing work where additional coordination is required and/or where other countries or organizations could make contributions; and

(c) Propose steps for the improvement of international coordination in collaboration with specialized bodies.

The Action Team identified three primary components of threat mitigation:

(a) Discovering hazardous asteroids and comets and identifying those objects requiring action;

(b) Planning a mitigation campaign that includes deflection and/or disruption actions and civil defence activities; and

(c) Implementing a mitigation campaign, if the threat warrants.

In 2013, the Action Team will finalize its Recommendations of the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects for an international response to the near-Earth object impact threat. The recommendations are meant to:

(a) ensure that all nations are aware of potential threats and

(b) ensure the design and coordination of mitigation activities among nations that could be affected by an impact and those that might play an active role in any eventual deflection or disruption campaign.

 

The UN's Action Team on Near-Earth objects discusses its recommendations for an international response to near-Earth Object impact threat (20 February 2013,Vienna)

Copyright©2014 UNOOSA, All Rights Reserved, Terms of use