NASA has launched a new office within the science mission directorate’s planetary science division that will work to detect and monitor asteroids and other near-Earth objects.
The planetary defense coordination office will also coordinate programs and craft plans with the Defense Department, Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal and international agencies in response to any potential threats posed by NEO-related impacts, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Jan. 7.
PDCO will release notices of close approaches of asteroids and comets to Earth, issue warnings and oversee NASA’s NEO Observations Program.
Lindley Johnson, a NEO program executive at NASA, will lead the new office as planetary defense officer.
The creation of the new office reflects the space agency’s commitment “to perform a leadership role in national and international efforts for detection of these natural impact hazards and to be engaged in planning if there is a need for planetary defense,” Johnson said.