A More Accurate Armageddon

According to cosmochemist Dr. Natalie Starkey, an asteroid strike on Earth is still highly likely, despite all of NASA's plans. Because of the vastness of the universe, she is afraid there will be an undetectable asteroid coming for Earth. But in any event, NASA is still getting prepared. Asteroid collision prep is done by the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), whose purpose is to use “applied planetary science” to address the NEO (near-earth object) impact hazard. It is already established that any actions taken will be done with a robotic spacecraft, not a team of drillers.
From space.com: This is a graph of near-Earth asteroids detected since April 2018

The PDCO has devised a 5 step plan ordered by the government if there is a potential NEO threat. The first is advanced background research on any asteroids to avoid any ambiguities, especially if they must alert the public. This is done by three different observatories in Arizona, Hawaii and the NEOWISE space telescope which scan for and track all asteroids. Second is predicting whether an asteroid will strike and where. US emergency-management agencies, such as FEMA, would use this to better prepare to take action. Third on the list is to devise a specific plan to redirect or mitigate any incoming asteroids using a new kind of spacecraft. The first recent plans, the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), were discarded in 2017. So today, NASA is working on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) which will be launched in 2021. Fourth is to work on international cooperation on such matters to better prepare the rest of the world, not just the US. Since this is a global issue, all countries must work together. So the UN has put together the International Asteroid Warning Network, which is a group of asteroid tracking astronomers and observatories. And last but not least, and somehow the most terrifying, NASA is creating plans in the event an asteroid is going to hit Earth with little to no warning. These plans would also be in collaboration with FEMA, whose role is to warn people in areas of direct impact and to provide first responders.

So to put this in perspective, this is a map of what it would look like if an asteroid about 100m wide were to hit NYC. It would completely wipe out the most important parts of New York and New Jersey, including all 5 boroughs, 3 airports, and conveniently my own house.  So no matter the size of a potential asteroid, the damage will still be pretty widespread and devastating.

To top it all off, in the most intense video I've ever seen about flying space rocks, this is a visual of what an actual asteroid redirection mission would look like. While I'm not sure if this has actually been tested in real-time, the stellar graphic design makes it seem pretty legit.


  1. I'm having trouble deciding how much of your writing is sarcastic, but anyway, nice research.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts