As I mentioned in Why we need to Get off this Rock, Asteroid MN4 is important to pay attention to. At the ISDC a couple of weeks ago, as reported in Sounding the Alarm, Cautiously, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, chairman of the B612 foundation, spoke about why we still need to monitor MN4.
Now, I don't know about all his ideas (read the paper for more details) but I agree that we need to monitor MN4. We need to monitor all NEOs.
Monitoring isn't enough, though. What do we do if we find a asteroid targeting our lovely blue planet? To quote the Ghostbusters, "Who you gonna call?" According to a Wire Magazine article, Congressman Backs Asteroid Agency,
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) said in a phone interview on Friday that he supports former Apollo astronaut Russell Schweickart's proposal to create a federal asteroid-response agency. Rohrabacher said he will push Congress and the president to "take action on this by the end of the year."
I sure hope so. Somebody needs to pay attention to this. I wonder how private industry could handle this. I am sure it would be cheaper, but I am not sure if national security (Earth security?) can be handled by private industry. Private military is a scary prospect.
I would suggest a "matrix" organization that would be joined with NASA and DOD, but not under either one. Like a cross-disciplinary degree that takes the best from two departments. The Near Earth Asteroid Monitoring Agency (NEAMA), would compile data from astronomers (both amateur and professional), secure time on telescopes, partner with either NASA or DOD to build probes, transponders, or asteroid deflection rockets when needed.
Just my two cents (I don't have an ego about the name, though.)
Note: I have been out for the last few weeks, what with the end of school and everything. But know I am back, and I should be back to my normal posting schedule.