Newswise — For the past two years the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) -- the international organization of astronauts and cosmonauts from 33 countries -- has been developing a program to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts.

To assist it in developing this decision program for the international community, the ASE's Near-Earth Object (NEO) Committee formed a distinguished international Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation. The Committee then organized a series of four workshops with the Panel to identify and address the international legal, political, scientific and disaster management aspects of the challenge.

The findings and recommendations from this work -- Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response -- will be detailed in a special press briefing to be held on September 25, 2008 at the Offices of the Google Foundation in San Francisco, California.

The results of this two-year effort will be submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in its 2009 sessions in Vienna, Austria for deliberation and action.

The ASE NEO Committee and its Panel will complete its deliberations in a final workshop in San Francisco, September 22-25. At the close of this workshop the ASE and its Panel of international experts will hold a press conference to announce the results of its program and its plans for bringing its recommendations to the attention of the world's space agencies and political leaders.

WHEN: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2008 at 10:00 A.M.WHERE: Offices of the Google Foundation 345 Spear St., 4th Floor, Duboce TriangleSan Francisco, California

Decision-making protocol

The Secure World Foundation (SWF) has partnered with the Association of Space Explorers NEO Committee and supports it in its dissemination of information and its briefings around the globe.

"Although the risk of experiencing a destructive Near Earth Object strike in the next 50 years is likely to be relatively small, the world needs to be prepared with a decision-making protocol for dealing with that small chance," said Ray Williamson, SWF's Executive Director.

"Constructing the decision-making rules to allow the world community to be prepared ahead of time is relatively cheap, especially compared with the enormous costs of waiting until an asteroid with Earth in its sights is discovered," Williamson added.

Following the press conference individual astronauts, cosmonauts and Panel members will be available for personal interviews.

Press packets will be available at the reception area outside the press conference area and online Thursday morning, September 25 at:

ASE-NEO Committee

Rusty Schweickart, USA (Chair)Sergey Avdeev, RussiaFranklin Chang-Diaz, Costa RicaChris Hadfield, CanadaTom Jones, USAEd Lu, USADorin Prunariu, RomaniaViktor Savinykh, Russia

Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation

Adigun Ade Abiodun, NigeriaVallampadugai Arunachalam, IndiaRoger Bonnet, SwitzerlandSergio Camacho-Lara, MexicoJames George, CanadaTomifumi Godai, JapanNandasiri Jasentuliyana, Sri LankaPeter Jankowitsch, AustriaSergey Kapitza, RussiaPaul Kovacs, CanadaWalther Lichem, AustriaGordon McBean, CanadaMartin Rees, UKKarlene Roberts, USAMichael Simpson, FranceCrispin Tickell, UKRichard Tremayne-Smith, UKJames Zimmerman, USA

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