The United Nations has approved a set of measures to protect our planet from the dangers of incoming asteroids. The recently-adopted guidelines will correct a number of outstanding issues, including global coordination and an actual response plan.
Indeed, this has been a long time coming. The guidelines were developed back in 2008 by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), an initiative headed by Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart. But it probably took the recent Chelyabinsk incident — and the fact that we were completely blindsided by it — for the UN to finally take notice.
No doubt, the world needs an international asteroid warning system. There are millions of asteroids orbiting the sun, of which 10,000 are considered near-Earth objects (NEOs). Recently, Ukrainian astronomers detected a massive quarter-mile wide asteroid that has a 1 in 63,000 chance of smashing into us in 2032. The odds are slim, but frightening nonetheless. It's a not-so-subtle reminder that other NEOs may be lurking undetected.