The danger of an asteroid hitting the Earth is obvious and quite real. A real example of this is the huge fireball and the crushing explosion that occurred in Chelyabinsk in February 2013.
This event has become a global wake-up call, both for politicians and for the public, that the Earth is not protected from asteroid attacks. Researchers must combine the experience of many existing scientific institutions in the world, in order not only to detect and track the object, but also to create a system of influence on a potential threat.
For many years, the UN Specialized Group has been working on the collection and analysis of near-earth objects (NEO) data in order to provide timely warning to national authorities about a potentially dangerous object for the Earth. This work, in particular, helped to present its International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN).
The group of experts organized the World Security Foundation in September, which brought together leading experts to discuss the IAWN, which operates independently of the United Nations. The meeting report has just been published as an official document. The results of the workshop, however, have not yet been reviewed by the IAWN Steering Committee. "We have made progress in identifying key issues related to communication with the press and the public regarding the prevention of the possible consequences of NEO and other related issues," said workshop participant Sergio Camacho, who heads the UN action group.
After extensive discussions among the workshop participants, the group made the following recommendations to sharpen the usefulness of the IAWN:
Recommendation 1: The IAWN should create a five-year operational and interim action plan to develop reliable and trustworthy information on NEO. This plan should take into account the fundamental principles of risk communication.
Recommendation 2: The IAWN should use full-time liaison officers to oversee the development and implementation of the five-year plan.
Recommendation 3: The IAWN should sponsor briefings and seminars for journalists in order to increase NEO awareness in the media.
Recommendation 4: The IAWN should develop and use new methods to determine the main characteristics of the asteroid and the potential impact.
Recommendation 5: The IAWN should develop a website as soon as possible.