A Scientific Impact Response Team for the Aftermath of Small Asteroid and Comet Impacts

Cockell, Charles (2005). A Scientific Impact Response Team for the Aftermath of Small Asteroid and Comet Impacts. Science and Global Security, 13(1-2) pp. 105–115.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08929880590961899


Most asteroid and comet impacts cause localized destruction, not global-scale extinctions. The way in which the international community would respond to such events has not been defined. During the 10th European Science Foundation IMPACT workshop in 2003 a method of scientific response to an impact event was proposed. A Scientific Impact Response Team (SIRT) would achieve the rapid assembly of a scientific and logistics team to access and study a newly formed impact crater (or blast zone under an airburst). Its purpose would be to (1) provide scientific advice and information for disaster and emergency services if such an event occurs near to a populated area, (2) provide scientific advice to media and public information channels, (3) investigate immediate postimpact geological and biological effects in and around the crater, and (4) document geological and biological changes at the site of impact over time and the rate of recovery. The team would exist in a latent state. In order to ensure a coherent response to such an event, the team could be activated by international bodies such as the UN and would maintain links with other emergency response organizations.

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