The office will operate out of D.C. and involve tracking comets and other space objects approaching earth

By Alex Heigl
Updated January 13, 2016 01:45 PM
Advertisement

Too late for Michael Bay to pivot into government?

NASA has announced the establishment of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which is set up to defend Earth from asteroids, comets and presumably, should the need arise, aliens? Unclear. (Probably more of a CIA thing, though.)

The office, which includes the incredibly named position of “Planetary Defense Officer,” operates out of D.C., and is primarily concerned with the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs), which are asteroids and comets of a certain size (98 to 164 feet) that get within a certain range of Earth (.05 Astronomical Units, or about 93 million miles).

And the fun part: If one of the PHOs gets too close to Earth, the Planetary Defense Office will coordinate with the government to deal with the situation, hopefully necessitating a lighthearted training montage like the one in Armageddon. (Before, you know, the heroic deaths and the sadness.)

About 1,500 near-Earth objects are detected each year. “While there are no known impact threats at this time, the 2013 Chelyabinsk super-fireball and the recent ‘Halloween Asteroid’ close approach remind us of why we need to remain vigilant and keep our eyes to the sky,” John Grunsfield, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, told CNN.

Well, yes asteroids, but also aliens.