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NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting: 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Saturday, February 10, 2007

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Source: NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting Minutes 1 November 2006

Seventh Item of Business: 2006 Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study

Study lead Bill Claybaugh, Director of the PA&E Studies and Analysis Division, introduced the effort to derive requirements from Congressional direction to detect, track, catalogue and characterize potentially hazardous near-Earth objects (PHOs), and analyze the means to satisfy the Congressional goal of surveying 90% of these objects 140 meters in diameter and larger by the end of 2020. In addition, Congressional direction required an analysis of alternatives that could be employed to deflect a potentially hazardous object in the event it is determined to pose a threat to the Earth. He introduced study coordinator, Dan Mulville, and study executive, Marcus Shaw (Aerospace). Dan Mulville presented the study's major findings.

- Mulville reviewed the Congressional direction and defined terms, and stated that detection and characterization would each be addressed, but because no decision was required regarding mitigation, that portion of the study would not be covered in the briefing; an analysis of alternatives is included in the study report (provided to members on the council server).

- Detection: Mulville presented the technical analysis of the number of PHOs by size and described the performance of existing and possible ground- and space-based detection and tracking assets. He showed how various combinations of assets met the requirements, and what their relative life cycle costs would be. He characterized the increased need for data management.

- Characterization: Mulville stated that characterization may be needed to inform mitigation decisions, and showed how deflection options are linked to characterization capability options (both ground- and space-based). He reviewed the analysis of alternatives and relative cost-performance of each.

- Mulville closed by proposing questions: What recommended option for a detection, tracking, and cataloguing program should NASA make to Congress? What characterization should be included in the survey program in the absence of a national mitigation strategy?

Griffin complimented the thoroughness of the study. He stated that NASA is not funded to do anything more than the current detection program. Members discussed the origin of the congressional language and its intent. SMD Associate Administrator Mary Cleave suggested that NASA should not be in the business of building and operating ground-based telescopes but that portion of any program could be done in partnership with the National Science Foundation. Griffin stated his intent to provide the Agency's response to Congress by the due date of 28 December 2006.

SMC Action: Members will provide their comments on the Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Study to PA&E no later than 16 November 2006.

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