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April 5, 2019


NASA Invites Media to Learn More About Near-Earth Asteroids, Comets

artist impression's addressing an asteroid

The IAA Planetary Defense Conference will highlight NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the first-ever mission to demonstrate an asteroid deflection technique for planetary defense, depicted in this artist’s rendition. The DART mission, managed by APL, is a project of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Media are invited to hear experts from around the world discuss the latest research on near-Earth objects (NEOs) at the International Academy of Astronautics’ 2019 Planetary Defense Conference Monday, April 29, through Friday, May 3, at The Hotel at the University of Maryland.

NEOs include asteroids and comets that orbit our Sun and come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, where some may pose an impact hazard to our planet. NASA experts will talk about the agency’s first mission to demonstrate a technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space and other aspects of the nation’s planetary defense program.

Media who would like to attend the conference must contact Margaret Simon at

Follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PlanetaryDefense. The conference will stream live at

NASA will kick off the NEO discussion at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 28, with a media workshop at the conference venue hosted by the agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. The workshop will provide an overview of NASA’s planetary defense efforts, including how the agency identifies, monitors, and studies NEOs. To attend the workshop, media must provide their name and media affiliation to LaJuan Moore by Friday, April 26, at

Highlights of the conference include:

9:20 a.m., Monday, April 29
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will deliver the conference’s keynote address. This address will stream live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

7:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 1
NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green will participate in a panel discussion about defending Earth from asteroids with Bill Nye, chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, and other leading experts. The event will stream live at

The conference also will include a fictional asteroid impact scenario — an exercise that will give conference participants the opportunity to simulate a response to a hypothetical asteroid impacting Earth. Learn more about this simulation at

The Hotel at the University of Maryland is located at 7777 Baltimore Avenue in College Park, Maryland.

Learn more about NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office at

Media contacts:

Justyna Surowiec/Margaret Simon
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland

Dwayne Brown/JoAnna Wendel
NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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