NEO News (03/10/05) Impact Hazard Summary for UNI posted a graphic of the Torino Impact scale recently.
Here are excerpts from a presentation in Vienna at a meeting in Vienna of the UN Committee of the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space:
Comet/Asteroid impacts have played a major role in shaping the planets and satellites in the Solar System. Moreover, it has become clear that such events are not confined to the distant past, but are an ongoing phenomenon. They represent a natural hazard that is unique in that, with existing techniques, the comets and asteroids can be detected and their possible impact can in many cases be predicted decades in advance. Thus, measures can be designed and implemented to mitigate the consequences of a impact -- perhaps even prevent it altogether. Governments are therefore being faced with the issue of assigning priorities to this task among the many that claim a share of society's limited resources.
However, concerns over the comet/asteroid threat are not limited to the physical effects of an actual impact.
What are the psychological effects on individuals of a perceived apocalypse? What are the moral implications of warning versus not warning society of a pending global or local disaster?
Society's vulnerability to impacts was found to have increased, both in developed countries that are increasingly dependent on complex information networks and economic linkages, and in developing countries where people often live under marginal conditions and disaster preparedness tends to be poor.
NEO News (03/10/05) Impact Hazard Summary for UN | SpaceRef