The Earth has a long and violent history of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies such as asteroids and comets. Several of these impacts have been large enough to cause huge environmental upheavals, causing mass extinctions and severe changes to global climate and geography. Many smaller strikes, though not globally threatening, have caused enormous damage, often at considerable distance.
Massively more destructive than a global nuclear war, this is the hazard that is most likely to precipitate the end of our technology based civilization, but asteroid and comet impacts are the only natural catastrophes that we can predict and prevent. They are also the only ones that can put every member of the species at immediate risk.
However, despite the global scientific consensus on the nature and gravity of this threat, there is currently no coordinated international response.
In his talk Jay will discuss the nature and extent of the Near Earth Object (NEO) hazard, how it can be dealt with, and give an up to date analysis of what is currently being done about it.