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NASA: Asteroid Impact Avoidance Options Outlined

NASA: Asteroid Impact Avoidance Options Outlined

By    |   Thursday, 21 June 2018 03:19 PM

NASA plans to test ways to prevent asteroids from colliding with Earth over the next decade and, depending on the size of the object hurtling toward us, three current methods could be used, New Scientist noted.

These methods are highlighted in a report released Wednesday by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which outlines how NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will prevent hazardous asteroids from hitting us.

"An asteroid impact is one of the possible scenarios that we must be prepared for," said Leviticus Lewis, chief of FEMA's National Response Coordination Branch, according to Space.com.

He added that "some degree of preparedness is necessary" for the "low-probability but high-consequence event."

One way to deal with an approaching asteroid is with a heavy spacecraft that uses its gravity to pull the asteroid off its course to Earth, New Science noted.

"That could be enhanced if the spacecraft could collect mass, like a large boulder, from the surface to enhance gravitational attraction," said Lindley Johnson at NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

The second method would be to forcibly change the asteroid's speed and orbit by slamming a spacecraft into it. The third idea is to use a nuclear device to break the approaching asteroid up into small pieces, or to deflect it completely.

Fortunately, scientists know of no asteroids or comets heading our way at the moment.

A massive dead comet bigger than the towering Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai will be making a "potentially hazardous" pass by Earth on Thursday, but it will be whizzing by our planet with 3.7 million miles to spare.

NASA's planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, noted that 95 percent of all near-Earth objects measured one kilometer or bigger however, there was still the chance for the remaining 5 percent or smaller rocks to inflict big damage.

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NASA will keep asteroids from colliding with Earth, according a recently released plan that outlines three options the space agency will test.
nasa, asteroids, impace, avoidance
Thursday, 21 June 2018 03:19 PM
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