Alike the army, navy and the air force, Space Force as proposed by President Donald Trump becomes a reality, defying all odds, it would undoubtedly play an essential role in protecting Earth from the impact of an incoming asteroid.
A report released from NASA and other federal officers on 20th June, unveiled the responsibilities that the U.S. should undertake by the next ten years to defend Earth from the impacts of potential asteroids. In an 18 page extended plan, being named "The National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan," mentions work from various agencies all across the federal government, officials of the White House and even the potential Space Force announced by Trump, that needs to be undertaken.
In response to a question on the Space Force and its role, Aaron Miles, of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that one thing that is clear from the report is that it is throughout the U.S. Government that the responsibility to respond and to prepare to response is shared and spread. It means that everybody shares and brings capabilities on to the tables. One of the plan’s primary objective is to coordinate and leverage these capabilities wherever they are all across the government.
Though Miles never mentioned Space Force by name, it was clear that the plan stands for all concerted national efforts to defend our Earth from an incoming asteroid that would undoubtedly involve some military presence in space for the tracking of the asteroid or its deflection. And if Space Force is operational at such times, it will undoubtedly play a role. Even though, the Air Force in already involved in its hard efforts to maintain situational space awareness of any object orbiting the Earth.
Currently, the U.S. deploys three possible methods to deflect any hazardous asteroid from hitting the Earth, and these are:
- Gravity Tractor: it involves parking a spacecraft near to the asteroid and allows the attraction of gravity between the two objects which gets the asteroid to divert course.
- Kinetic Impactor: it involves slamming a spacecraft into the asteroid and knocking it off its course.
- Nuclear Strike: that aims in vaporizing the surface of the asteroid, creating a set of materials that push it off its track.
Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer, conveyed reporters through a teleconference that all the three above optioned needs at least a first period of 10 years before any potential asteroid strikes and all these could be done via robot operated spacecraft and need no astronauts.
Earlier this week president Donald Trump announced the formation of the sixth branch of the U.S. forces – The Space Force. It would oversee U.S. military operations out in space, and currently much of the same is being managed by the Air Force.