Scientists around the world were destroyed this week by a fictional asteroid headed for Earth.
A group of experts from the US and European space agency attended a week-long exercise led by NASA, where they faced a fictional scenario: an asteroid 35 million miles away, approaching Earth and potentially crashing. Within six months
On each day of the exercise, participants learn more about the size of the asteroid, its trajectory, and the likelihood of its impact. They then have to cooperate and apply their technological knowledge to see what they can do to stop the space rock.
The experts fell The group argues that no existing Earth technology can stop a hypothetical asteroid from attacking because of the simulated six-month time frame. In fact, this alternative to the asteroid struck Eastern Europe.
As far as we know, there are no asteroids present that threaten Earth in this way. But about two-thirds of the asteroids 460 feet or larger ̵1; large enough to wreak havoc – remain undiscovered. That’s why NASA and other agencies are trying to prepare for the situation.
“Ultimately, these exercises will help communities protect the planet, communicate with each other and with our governments to ensure we all coordinate if potential threats are identified in the future,” said Lindley John. Nasa, NASA’s planetary defense officer, said in a press release.
Six months is not enough time to prepare for asteroid impacts.
The fictitious asteroid in this simulation is called 2021PDC. In the NASA scenario it was first “seen” on April 19, at which time it was estimated to have hit 5% of our Earth on October 20, six months. After the date of discovery
But Day 2 of the practice quickly passed through May 2, when new impact trajectory calculations showed that 2021PDC almost hit Europe or North Africa. Participants in the simulation looked at various missions in which the spacecraft could attempt to destroy the asteroid or divert from its path.
But they conclude that the mission will not be able to land for a short time before the asteroid affects.
“If faced with a real-life 2021PDC scenario, we will not be able to launch any spacecraft on a short notice with its current capabilities,” the participants said.
They also consider trying to blow up or destroy asteroids using nuclear explosive devices.
“Deploying a nuclear disruption mission can significantly reduce the risk of impact damage,” they found.
The simulations, however, indicate that 2021PDC could range in size from 114 feet to half a mile, so the chances that the nuclear will make a dent are uncertain.
Day 3 of the previous cross training was June 30, and the future of the world looked grim: the trajectory of 2021PDC shows it headed for Eastern Europe. By Day 4, fast forwarding up to a week before the asteroid hits, there is a 99% chance that the asteroid will hit near the border between Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. The explosion will produce as much energy as a large nuclear bomb.
All you can do is evacuate the affected area ahead of time.
Most of the asteroids fly under the radar, and many have found too late.
It’s tempting to assume that in the real world, astronomers will spot an asteroid similar to 2021PDC, with more than six months’ notice. But the ability of the world to explore near-earth objects (NEO) is not perfect.
Any space rock with an orbit less than 125 million miles from the Sun is NEO, but Johnson said in July that NASA thinks, “We found only a third of the population of asteroids there. Which can be dangerous to the world “
Of course, humanity hopes to avoid surprises like dinosaurs 65 million years ago, when an asteroid 6 miles wide struck Earth. But in recent years, scientists have missed out on many large dangerous objects that have come close.
Comet Neovis, a space ice three miles wide, passed 64 million miles of Earth in July. It was not known that the comet existed until NASA’s space telescope discovered it four months earlier.
In 2013, a meteorite about 65 feet in diameter entered the atmosphere at a speed of 40,000 miles per hour. Exploding over Chelyabinsk, Russia without warning, caused a shock wave that damaged windows and buildings across the region. More than 1,400 people were injured.
And in the year 2019, asteroids “Killer City”, 427 feet wide, has flown 45,000 miles from Earth. NASA has little warning about it.
That’s because today the only way scientists can track NEO is by pointing the Earth’s limited number of powerful telescopes in the right direction at the right time.
To address the issue, NASA announced two years ago that it would launch a new generation of space telescopes for monitoring dangerous asteroids. The telescope, named for its near-earth surveillance mission, along with the European Space Agency’s newly launched test-bed telescope and the Italy-built Fly Eye Telescope should eventually support the number of NEOs we can track.
NASA is testing a method for creating an asteroid.
NASA has examined options that scientists would have if they found a dangerous asteroid on the path of the collision with Earth. These include detonating bombs near the space rock, as suggested by the exercise participants, or firing lasers that could heat the asteroid and evaporate enough to redirect it.
Another possibility is to send a spaceship to the oncoming asteroid, which would cause it to fall off its trajectory. This is the tactic that NASA values the most: Later this year, the agency is scheduled to launch a test of the technology. The Double Asteroid Redirect (DART) test will send a spacecraft to the asteroid Dimorphos and it is intended to crash it in the fall of 2022.
NASA hopes the collision will change Dimorphos’ orbit, even if the asteroid poses no threat to Earth. But the mission could prove that asteroid redirection was possible with enough waiting time.