Science & Engineering Faculty

Planetary defense: The communication challenge—Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Publication Date Jun 21, 2022


ABSTRACT As impact events are known to have had severe effects on the geological and biological evolution of the Earth, the need to detect potentially hazardous objects that might collide with the Earth, and to possibly protect our planet from asteroid impacts, has been recognized in recent years. Planetary defense covers human activities to address potential impacts of Near-Earth Objects on Earth. Once the immediate threat of such an impact is obvious, this fact, along with the intended countermeasures, will have to be communicated to the public. There is a parallel to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) situation: an imminent threat and the required response are being communicated. Reactions between acceptance and cooperation all the way to denial, conspiracy theories, fake news, and active opposition can be observed. It is evident that these factors will have to be considered in the strategy for communicating the asteroid threat.


Planetary Defense Conspiracy Theories Imminent Threat Fake News Coronavirus Situation COVID-19 Pandemic Geological Evolution Asteroid Threat Hazardous Objects Near-Earth Objects

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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