Preliminary Planetary Defence Decision Tree

March 2023

The Preliminary Planetary Defence Decision Tree is a tool intended to help policy and decision makers think about critical decision points that might occur before and during a planetary defence emergency. To cite use: Michael Byers, Aaron Boley, Charlotte Hook “Preliminary Planetary Defence Decision Tree”, March 2023

‘Planetary Defence’ involves the detection, characterization, risk assessment, and if necessary deflection or mitigation of asteroids and comets that have the potential to strike Earth.

A large number of decisions need to be considered in planetary defence planning and actions, ranging from, for example, national planning, to international cooperation, to civil response preparation, and to enabling complex space missions.

Decisions that take place prior to the discovery of a potential impactor could greatly affect the success of a planetary defence response.

The Planetary Defence Conference (PDC) series provides a venue for testing humanity’s capabilities in responding to planetary defence emergencies.

These images were captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impacted the moonlet asteroid Dimorphos, successfully altering its orbit around the larger asteroid, Didymos. The rays seen are ejected material from the impact, which resulted in a threefold increase in the brightness of the dual asteroid system from 22 minutes to 8.2 hours following the event. Credits: Science: NASA, ESA, Jian-Yang Li (Planetary Science Institute); animation: Alyssa Pagan (Space Telescope Science Institute)

As part of PDC 2023, the Outer Space Institute has developed an interactive decision tree, a supporting supplemental document, and an html tree overview. The tree helps decision makers to think about some of the critical decision points that exist before and during a planetary defence emergency, with the intent of informing policy and agreements now before we are forced to make those decisions in a ‘live’ situation.

The decision tree is a work in progress, and we are soliciting feedback from the community [FORM LINK].

If you wish to cite the preliminary decision tree materials, please use: Michael Byers, Aaron Boley, Charlotte Hook “Preliminary Planetary Defence Decision Tree”, March 2023. A DOI will become available after PDC 2023.

You can find the supporting supplemental document: [HERE].

The HTML tree overview is available: [HERE].

Interactive: Aaron Boley, Michael Byers, Charlotte Hook
Supplemental Document:
 Michael Byers, Aaron Boley, Charlotte Hook
Tree Overview: Charlotte Hook, Aaron Boley, Michael Byers.

Outer Space Institute

Outer Space Institute
The University of British Columbia
225-6224 Agricultural Rd.
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


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