NASA’s Asteroid Simulations Always End In Catastrophic Disaster
NASA has been conducting simulations for an asteroid collision, and unfortunately it looks like we would be doomed.
If an asteroid was coming to Earth, it’s nice to think that we would be safe with the help of a dramatic gesture from Bruce Willis like we saw in Armageddon. However, it seems that the actual results would be much grimmer.
A week-long exercise conducted by NASA has shown that a disaster would be inevitable even if we had six months to prepare for a collision. The scenario was played out during a planetary defence conference hosted by the United Nations, and it seems that governments across the world would be underprepared for the situation.
On the back of the exercise, the participants noted:
If confronted with the scenario in real life, we would not be able to launch any spacecraft on such short notice with current capabilities.
Rather than try to destroy the asteroid, it seems that the most effective plan would be to evacuate the area that would be affected. With that said, this scenario would still lead to destruction on a huge scale.
NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson discussed the findings, stating, ‘Each time we participate in exercises of this nature, we learn more about who the key players are in a disaster event, and who needs to know what information and when.’
These exercises ultimately help the planetary defence community communicate with each other and with our governments to ensure we are all coordinated should a potential impact threat be identified in the future.
On the back of the news, Elon Musk wrote about the need for greater investment in heavy rockets. Fortunately, this is an area that NASA is already looking into, and is working on an asteroid deflection system and plans to launch a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) at the end of 2021.
Andrea Riley, program executive for DART at NASA, explained the purpose of this asteroid defence:
DART will be the first test for planetary defence, and the data returned after it impacts Dimorphos will help scientists better understand one way we might mitigate a potentially hazardous NEO discovered in the future.
While the asteroid DART impacts poses no threat to Earth, it is in a perfect location for us to perform this test of the technology before it may actually be needed.
With this in mind, there may be hope in the future for our ability to survive an asteroid collision. Although it’s a bit disappointing that will almost definitely be doomed if an asteroid was to hit the planet in the coming months.
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