NEOShield: How do we move an asteroid?
Alan Fitzsimmons



Past impacts on the Earth have probably altered the evolutionary course of life, and asteroids and comets will continue to hit the Earth at irregular intervals in the future. On-going surveys discover several hundred new NEOs each year. NEOShield is a 3.5-year, 5.8m euro, ERC FP7-funded project to address critical scientific and technical issues that currently stand in the way of demonstrating the feasibility of space missions to prevent the collision of an NEO with the Earth. Detailed test-mission designs will be provided for the most feasible mitigation concepts, in preparation for future rapid development of actual test missions. The NEOShield concept includes laboratory experiments and associated modelling, combined with interpretation of relevant observational data and theoretical models of asteroid surfaces, to improve our understanding of the nature of NEOs and allow the feasibility of mitigation techniques and mission designs to be accurately assessed. An international response strategy will be considered for implementation when an actual impact threat arises. Account will be taken of complementary efforts currently in progress (e.g. by the UN, ESA, NASA).