Planetary Defense Conference Exercise 2017


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The 2017 PDC Hypothetical Asteroid Impact Scenario, Day 3 : May 15, 2020

Press Release
Press Briefing Charts
Impact Effects Briefing (Tokyo Animation)


International Asteroid Warning Network Working Group

・The current rendezvous missions should have enough instruments on the spacecraft to fully characterize the size, shape, orbit and rotational state of the system with wide and small field imagers, and thermal cameras to determine size and shapes
・The radar on the spacecraft will allow the determination of the internal structure - a solid body or a rubble pile composed of large components
・Both probes must survive the collisions intact, since after the impacts, the number of massive bodies could range from 2 (the original bodies) to many, and the instrumentation is needed to rapidly establish which ones are still on impact trajectories
・When the two largest impacting components are located, they will need to be followed by the two rendezvous spacecraft to be fully characterized

Impact Effects Working Group

・Consider two separate situations: primary & secondary both impact, or only the secondary impacts (assuming the primary is fully deflected).
・If both impact (assuming binary system remains intact), only the impacts from the primary need to be considered, as the secondary will impact in the same general location and cannot cause more damage than the primary
・If only the secondary impacts, uncertainty in the impact location is introduced, therefore the risk corridor widens significantly
・The best solution is to time the Kinetic Impactors to collapse the binary orbit, keeping the system together, while simultaneously shifting the impact point into the Pacific Ocean
・2 Kinetic Impactors (out of 5) are required to move the impact point ~800km into Pacific Ocean, where tsunami hazards are relatively small

Space Mission Planning Advisory Group and Campaign Design Working Group

・Primary recommendation - Carry nuclear devices on the two rendezvous missions. A single nuclear device, deployed from either of the spacecraft, can effectively remove the impact threat from both the primary and the secondary. The primary would be deflected and the secondary would be destroyed.
・If the primary recommendation above is not implemented or successful, then we recommend proceeding to strike the primary with all 5 kinetic impactors for East-ward deflection in a controlled manner such that the secondary does not depart the binary system in an uncontrolled manner that could pose an Earth impact hazard.
・If the above efforts do not succeed, we suggest continuing to build and launch 2 more kinetic impactor spacecraft, possibly armed with nuclear devices, in 2022 or 2023 or 2024. Those spacecraft could be used to deflect or destroy the secondary body if necessary.

Decision to Act Working Group

・Propose to install nuclear devices on both rendezvous missions
・Use 2 or more KIs (Kinetic Impactors) on the binary companion
・Prepare 2 additional flyby missions with nuclear devices to be used later
・Prepare 2 additional KI missions to deflect binary companion
・Recommend to develop 6 possible plans/scenarios. It is not possible decide which now. We want 9 missions that can be used in any combination depending on which scenario is realized
・Prepare massive education and evacuation plans for Tokyo

Communication Working Group

・Convey the options and the information clearly, concisely, and consistently: Despite the difficult challenges, the flyby was successful, and the 5 KIs can make a difference. Then, scientists have made progress thanks to your generous support. We have the information necessary to mitigate the new risk. We strongly recommend to continue to support the trusted public information channels put in place which are working and should nevertheless be expanded.
・However, 75% of the public was opposed to the use of nuclear devices at the last inject. With this new information that the danger is greater, the opposition is weakened somewhat but the majority is still opposed. Discussion on the pros and cons on the use of nuclear devices needs to be included and properly described so the public can grasp the importance of the use of this technology.
・Even with the cooperative measures in place to aid the populations at risk, the individual nations potentially involved in the impacts are facing great fear. The decision by the leaders to not announce the evacuations prior to assessing the success of the KI missions is increasing the anxiety. The people need to know now what their options will be even while they hope for the success of the missions. This includes timelines, and how infrastructure and services, as well as businesses will be moved. Need to welcome public comment on the plans.
・What nation is launching the rendezvous mission and is that nation willing to add the atomic deflection device? And what is the risk if there’s a launch failure? We advocate for openness and transparency in the decision. There must be very clear messages on the risks as well as the benefits.
・We advocate naming the asteroids.

Disaster Planning & Management Working Group

・Continue planning for relocation in threatened location
・Need to plan for secondary impact in Russia along the uncertainty corridor presented on Day 1 (represents potential impact locations following deflection if not deflected of the Earth) - “This is a planned relocation. Even with this new uncertainty, no one dies.”
・Work with various groups in terms of economic fallout and to guarantee livelihood and property values (e.g., World Bank)
・This group gives input to the communication working group, so verify communication channels
・Provide a timeline of what to expect ? countries along the uncertainty corridor should create plans but NOT implement them, but they can be successful if organized well ahead of time (global crisis)

Leaders Working Group

・Voted Yes to put ADD (Atomic Deflection Device) on current rendezvous missions
・Voted Yes to use a KI (Kinetic Impactor) on the asteroid binary companion
・Voted Yes on 2 additional KI missions
・Voted Yes on 2 additional flyby missions carrying ADD
・Voted Yes on plan of action for things to do for people who will be affected
・Voted Yes on plan of action for people not directly affected

Background Links

Background information on the scenario.
To study this scenario using the JPL HORIZONS system, click here.
Description of NASA/JPL NEO Deflection App.
Using the Deflection App for the PDC 2015 scenario.