As the BBC's David Cox reported last week, NASA has a plan to prevent the looming destruction of the United States.
The threat? Yellowstone Caldera, a supervolcano that sits in the northwest corner of Wyoming, in Yellowstone National Park.
Were that supervolcano to erupt, as it inevitably does every 600,000 years or so, the consequences would be catastrophic. This matters, because the last eruption was around 640,000 years ago.
Brian Wilcox of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (think NASA special forces) explained the comparative risk to the BBC, "I was a member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense which studied ways for NASA to defend the planet from asteroids and comets. I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat."
Wilcox isn't alone. Scientists believe that were the supervolcano to erupt, it would spread an ash cloud over much of the continental United States. Crops would perish, vast areas of the nation would become uninhabitable, and hundreds of millions would become refugees in their own country. In short, an eruption would be a disaster of epic proportions.
Still, NASA has a plan to confront the danger. It wants to pump cold water at high pressure down to the lower levels of the supervolcano's magma flows, then circulate that water back up to the surface. This, NASA believes, would slowly decrease the internal temperatures building up inside the volcano and lessen the risk of a catastrophic eruption. In turn, the super heated water could be used to fuel a geothermal power plant to serve the region.
It's a good plan, but an expensive one. NASA estimates the cost would be around $3.5 billion, and that energy firms would need some subsidies in their early years of operation.
Nevertheless, Trump should assemble his science advisers and Mr. Wilcox to brief him on this innovative option. An eruption may come ten years from now, or a hundred years from now, or ten thousand years from now, or fifty thousand years from now. Regardless, science demands that an eruption will eventually occur. Assessing the catastrophe that would follow, the U.S. government should act now to protect its citizens.