Here is a hypothesis: A telescope detects an asteroid with a diameter of 100 to 300 meters, which races at 14 kilometers per second through our solar system, 57 million kilometers from Earth.
Astronomers estimate a one-percent risk that space rock will collide with our planet on April 27, 2027. What should we do?
In this potentially catastrophic scenario, 300 astronomers, scientists, engineers, and emergency experts apply their collective, "This week is the fourth international effort since 2013 in a suburb of Washington."
"We need to make sure people understand that it's not about Hollywood," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said when he held the sixth International Planetary Defense Conference on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park.
The countries include China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia and the United States.
The idea that the earth of Earth will someday defend itself against an asteroid will be used to figure out what experts call a "giggle factor."
But a meteor exploded over Russia on February 15, 2013, helped put an end to the grin.
On This morning, a 20-meter-long asteroid appears out of nowhere above the Southern Urals and explodes 23 miles (23 miles) above the city of Chelyabinsk with such force that it has destroyed the windows of thousands of buildings.
One thousand people were injured by the broken pieces.
But "the positive aspect of Chelyabinsk is that it has made the public aware of the policy makers." Detlef Koschny, Co-Manager of the Planetary Defense Office of the European Space Agency (ESA), told AFP.
Only the asteroids whose orbit around our Sun brings them within 31 million miles of our planet – defined as "near Earth" – are of interest.
Astronomers are finding new things every day: more than 700 this year, totaling 20,001, said Lindley Johnson of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office, founded in 2016.
One of the riskiest is The Rock is called 2000SG344: 165 feet in diameter, with a chance of 2,096 to hit Earth within a hundred years, according to the ESA.
The majority is very small, but 942 have a diameter of more than 1 km, estimates the astronomer Alan Harris.
The scientist told an audience that some big ones are probably still there: "A good deal of the biggest is hidden … basically parked behind the sun."
They are mainly found by two US telescopes, one in Arizona and the other in Hawaii.
The ESA has built a telescope for this purpose in Spain and plans more in Chile and Sicily.
Many astronomers are demanding a space telescope because terrestrial telescopes can not detect objects on the other side of the sun.
Distracting an Asteroid
This week's exercise is intended to simulate the global response to a catastrophic meteorite. The first step is to focus on the threat of telescopes to accurately calculate velocity and trajectory based on rough first estimates.
Then choose two options: Try to distract the object, or evacuate.
If it is less than 165 feet, the international consensus is to evacuate the threatened region. According to Koschny, it is possible to predict the country in which it will be two weeks before the move-in. Days before the impact can be limited to hundreds of kilometers.
What about larger objects? Trying to make them like the movie Armageddon would be a bad idea because it could only create smaller but still dangerous pieces.
Instead, it is intended to direct a device onto the asteroid to distract its trajectory – like a cosmic bumper car.
NASA plans to test this idea in 2022 on a true asteroid with a diameter of 492 meters DART mission (Double Asteroid Redirection Test)
One question that remains is politics, says Romana Kofler of United Nations Office on Space Issues.
"Who would be the decision-making authority?" She asked. "The consensus was to omit this aspect."
The United Nations Security Council would probably convene, but it is an open question whether rich countries would finance an operation if they themselves were not in the focus of 2000SG344 or 2000 would be another celestial rock.
The day the asteroid could hit
© 2019 AFP
What if an asteroid hit Earth? Scientists ask for question (2019, April 30)
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