Will A Massive Asteroid Hit Earth In 2038? NASA's Hypothetical Exercise Shows 72% Chance
Source: Live Science

Will A Massive Asteroid Hit Earth In 2038? NASA's Hypothetical Exercise Shows 72% Chance

Nasa conducted a hypothetical exercise to understand Earth's ability to respond effectively to a potentially hazardous threat.

NASA has raised a concern over a theoretical scenario in which there is a 72% chance that an asteroid might reach Earth on July 12, 2038, and could pose a threat.

Even though there are no current threats, NASA's exercise highlights seriousness over how unprepared the human race is for such a massive threat.

NASA conducted the fifth biennial Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise in April, according to an official report from the space agency. The exercise, which took place at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, was summarized by NASA and released on June 20.

Aside from NASA, around a hundred officials of different US government departments and foreign partners participated in the tabletop exercise.

Even though there aren't any known serious asteroid threats in the near future, this exercise was conducted to gauge how well Earth could react in the event that an asteroid became potentially dangerous.

“The uncertainties in these initial conditions for the exercise allowed participants to consider a particularly challenging set of circumstances,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer emeritus NASA Headquarters in Washington. “A large asteroid impact is potentially the only natural disaster humanity has the technology to predict years in advance and take action to prevent", she added.

Participants in the exercise thought about possible national and international reactions to a hypothetical scenario in which an asteroid discovered for the first time was estimated to have a 72% chance of striking Earth in about 14 years.

However, the exercise's initial observations were insufficient to accurately ascertain the asteroid's size, composition, and long-term course. The asteroid passing behind the Sun as viewed from Earth's perspective point in space would require crucial follow-up measurements to be postponed for at least seven months, which would be a severe loss of time and complicate this year's hypothetical situation.

NASA is still working on the NEO Surveyor (Near-Earth Object Surveyor), an infrared space telescope created specifically to speed up our ability to find and characterize the majority of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects many years before they could become an impact threat.

This will help ensure that humanity will have the time needed to assess and respond to a potentially hazardous asteroid or comet. The anticipated launch date of the agency's NEO Surveyor is June 2028.

“Our mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters,” said Leviticus “L.A.” Lewis, FEMA detailee to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. “We work across the country every day before disasters happen to help people and communities understand and prepare for possible risks", he added.

Source: The Free Press Journal

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