The Policy Trajectory of United States Asteroid Deflection Planning

Joseph Packer, Jeffrey A. Kurr, Adam Abelkop


Recent scientific studies document how potential dangers posed by asteroid collisions with Earth have been previously underestimated. These findings are alarming given the prevailing trajectory of US asteroid deflection policy, characterized by uncritical reliance on scientifically questionable deflection methods, such as nuclear interception. Numerous intercollegiate policy debate contests provided the authors with opportunities to survey the relevant policy literature and test alternative proposals for asteroid deflection planning. This article translates the results of the interactive research, reflecting on the historical backdrop of the threat posed to the planet by near-Earth Objects (NEOs), considering the relative merits of proposed deflection policies, exploring the issue’s connection with ballistic missile defense debates, and finally offering a call to action.



asteroid deflection, nuclear weapons, ballistic missile defense, Near-Earth Orbit, outer space, space policy

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