College Park (United States) (AFP) – Here's 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 ,
In this potentially catastrophic scenario, 300 astronomers, scientists, engineers, and emergency experts are using their collective consciousness this week In a suburb of Washington, this is the fourth international effort since 2013.
"We need to make sure people understand That this is not Hollywood, "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said when he opened the sixth International Planetary Defense Conference at the University of Maryland campus in College Park.
The countries include China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia and the United States.
The idea that the planet Earth may One day they have to fight back against an asteroid used to create a so called "giggle factor".
But a meteor blown up on Russia on February 15, 2013 helped mock it over. 19659008] This morning, a 20-meter-long asteroid emerged from nowhere over the southern Urals, exploding 23 miles (23 miles) over the city of Chelyabinsk with such force that it 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 drew the public's attention to the fact that policy makers were made aware of it," Detlef Koschny, co-manager of the Planetary Defense Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) told AFP.
– How many? –
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 find new ones every day: more than 700 in total this year for a total of 20,001, said Lindley Johnson of the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which was founded in 2016.
One of the riskiest is a rock named 2000SG344: 165 feet in diameter, with a chance of 2,096 According to the ESA, the earth is hitting within a hundred years.
The majority is very small, but 942 has a diameter of more than 1 km, estimates the astronomer Alan Harris.
The scientist told an audience that some big ones are probably still out there: "A lot of the biggest ones are hiding … 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 the other rs 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 attempts to simulate the world's 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 there are two possibilities: try to distract the object, or evacuate.
If there 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 outside the impact can be limited to hundreds of kilometers.
What about larger objects? Trying to forge it like the movie Armageddon would be a bad idea, as it could only create smaller but still dangerous pieces.
Instead, a device should be aimed at the asteroid to divert its trajectory a cosmic bumper car.
NASA plans to test this idea in 2022 with a double asteroid redirection test (DART) on a true asteroid.
One question that still remains is politics, says Romana Kofler, the 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 as to whether rich countries would finance an operation if they themselves were not in the focus of 2000SG344 or 2000 another heavenly rock.