STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION
This image, taken in 2015, shows Earth as seen by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), aboard NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spacecraft.Credit: NASA
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is spearheading a 10-year plan to improve detection of near-Earth asteroids and comets that could crash into Earth and to expand research into possible countermeasures to deflect an incoming body if detected in time, officials said Wednesday.
The National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan also calls for increased international cooperation to prepare for potential global impact threats and work to strengthen U.S. emergency procedures and protocols, familiarizing state and local management personnel with the unusual nature of the threat.
“For emergency managers, this is so different we have to first educate them,” said Leviticus Lewis, an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
“Everybody in America knows what a hurricane curve looks like, or the error cone. But if we show impact possibilities for an asteroid, most emergency managers will have no idea what that means or how NASA even came up with this information.”
The strategy and action plan says it is ...