“Die meisten Menschen sehen da am Himmel nur einen schönen Schweif und wünschen sich etwas. Der Einweihte weiß: Dort draußen lauert das Unheil.”

They can be mean and nasty, and they can mess up our planet big time.

They are near-Earth objects, dubbed NEOs, celestial flotsam such as asteroids or comets that can, and have, scored direct hits on our humble home planet.

A new international consortium has been launched to address the impact threat to Earth, but, more pointedly, to organize, prepare and implement mitigation measures.

Called NEOShield, the European Commission is providing a significant amount of euros to support the initiative. The undertaking consists of research institutes, universities and industrial partners in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain, as well as in the U.S. and Russia. via Space.com