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Planetary defense conference being held in Flagstaff

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The third Planetary Defense Conference is in Flagstaff this week.

In attendance are scientists, engineers and policymakers from across the globe who are deciding how to deflect an asteroid and develop a civil defense response.

Assistant Professor David Trilling of Northern Arizona University’s Physics and Astronomy Department said this is the first such conference in Flagstaff. One of the major draws for the 300 participants is Meteor Crater, which conference participants will be taking a field trip to.

Although scientists will be hard at work to come up with a plan to protect Earth from another asteroid, such as the one that exploded over Russia earlier this year, the public was invited to two events during the conference.

The first was a discussion Sunday about what happened over Russia, the other is a lecture from Bill Nye, The Science Guy on April 17. The tickets for Nye were free, but were all gone within three hours.

“People all over the world have really now seen what happens when as asteroid hits the Earth and it’s very visceral. You can understand it. ‘I’ve seen this thing in the sky and the explosion’ and so on and there’s a lot of attention now,” Trilling said.

Although the conference is now full and events are sold out, people can watch via a live stream.