You hear a lot about how NASA, ESA and other space agencies are taking action to catalogue asteroids that might one day collide with us, but also figure out how to avert such a catastrophe if one day it were to be determined that in the absence of human intervention, an asteroid would collide with us at a future point in time.
This is important, and fortunately for us, at present, it doesn't seem like there any asteroids out there with Earth written on them; phjew!
However, by random happenstance, I found myself reading about Hale-Bop the other day, and found out that the nucleus of Hale-Bop was estimated to be a whopping 60 kilometers; crikey! Add to that the velocity at which it was traveling and a collision with Earth would pretty much have wiped the slate clean as far as macroscopic life is concerned.
While it didn't collide with us, it did show up in our neck of the woods, so to say, and it had me wondering... Are any space agencies thinking about how to deal with the threat posed by comets, and if so, what might be their plans? Is there anything that could be done given that we will only have a year's, or so, notice from the point it is discovered to its date with Earth?