Around 1,500 near-Earth objects are detected by NASA and other various space organizations, and this has certainly caused the push by NASA for Planetary Protection. On October 12th, 2017 an Asteroid named 2012 TC4 will pass by Earth at a distance of about 4,200 miles. This is a rough estimate since we haven’t been able to precisely locate the space rock which has been out of the range of our telescopes since 2012 (not concerning at all). But in all seriousness, the rock that will pass our beautiful planet Earth will not be anywhere near close enough for us to be concerned or to start stuffing our families into underground bunkers full of water jugs and spam.
Planetary Defense Coordination
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) provides vital information that is translated into the observation and conservation of Earth. By locating asteroids that are unexpectedly traveling near Earth, the PDCO determines potential flight paths by calculating time and risk in order for researchers to plan accordingly. This is the perfect opportunity for the PDCO to make a move since we have confirmation that the asteroid 2012 TC4 will steer clear of Earth, making this space rock the best candidate for us to research.
NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer
NASA is committed to a Planetary Defense System and therefore recently put out applications for a Planetary Protection Officer. Guarding the planet from “organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration” is the main objective of the position. Sounds like a job that’s meant for Sigourney Weaver but I’m sure a few brave, and very smart souls can handle it. Fortunately for us, an apocalypse caused by an asteroid doesn’t seem imminent at the moment so it looks like Ripley and her team can keep a low profile.
From the looks of it, Planetary Protection isn’t just concerned with the protection of Earth, but with multiple planetary bodies in our solar system. Mercury and the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (unless you’re woke and don’t consider this a planet) aren’t a concern with our Planetary Protection program because these planets aren’t suited to support human life.
Today’s day and age is indeed quite different and unique. From political agendas to delusional foreign leaders, we have seen a serious change in our daily lifestyle. Now to top it all off, we have NASA searching for and hiring Planetary Protection Officers to keep our planet safe as can be. Although it may seem like something right out of Ridley Scott’s playbook, the Planetary Protection System is luckily of precautionary matter, to keep us safe and a step ahead. Despite differences around the world, keeping our Planet and the people among it safe, is something that everyone should rally behind.