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Worried about a giant killer asteroid? Don’t be, NASA has a plan to save the world

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Worried about a giant killer asteroid? Don’t be, NASA has a plan to save the world

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Giant killer asteroids don’t hit Earth very frequently, but the impact of the last one that wiped out the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago has made everyone wary of them. There’s already enough to worry about in 2020, with the pandemic and an economic slowdown going on, thus to lessen some of your worries the good people at NASA have come up with a contingency plan for potential asteroid impacts.

The U.S agencies NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) have prepared a five step plan in case an asteroid is on track to collide with our planet:

  • Step 1:

A text message will be sent to a group of 12 scientists, asking them to assemble on an emergency basis.

  • Step 2:

The aforementioned group of scientists will track the path of the asteroid and map its trajectory.

  • Step 3:

The scientists will calculate its size, and predict its time of impact.

  • Step 4:

NASA will confirm with FEMA that the asteroid collision is imminent and inevitable.

  • Step 5:

NASA and FEMA will issue a public statement about the asteroid hurtling towards the planet, and address how to protect the Earth.

Possible measures to protect the earth:

Deflect the impact of the asteroid by:

  • Firing lasers at the asteroid
  • Directing a spacecraft (like a rocket) to slam into the asteroid
  • Detonating a bomb next to the asteroid
  • Sending a spacecraft into orbit around the asteroid

Likelihood of an asteroid collision:

NASA estimates that a one-mile wide asteroid (which could have a disastrous life ending impact on the planet) only hits the Earth once every million years. But NASA and FEMA have still prepared for the scenario should it occur unexpectedly. Thomas Zurbuchen, astrophysicist and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said, “It’s not a matter of if, but when, we will deal with such a situation”.

A gigantic asteroid, known as 99942 Apophis, named for the Egyptian God of Chaos, will be the next killer asteroid to pass by Earth on the 13th of April, 2029. It will speed by our planet at over 67,000 miles per hour. According to astronomers it will be one of the biggest asteroids to pass that close to Earth’s orbit in the next decade. Their observations suggest that it will not hit the planet but it could come into contact with the Earth’s gravitational field which would alter its trajectory and potentially cause it to hit the planet on its loop back in this direction, in 2036. However, scientists have now determined that the likelihood of the asteroid changing its trajectory and hitting the Earth is extremely low.

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