NASA will train to defend Earth from asteroid impact

NASA will train to defend Earth from asteroid impact
  • Clock-gray 18:56
  • calendar-gray 27 April 2019

NASA, along with other US agencies and scientific institutions, will participate in a "tabletop exercise" to train for what to do if a so-called near-Earth object is poised to hit Earth, ONA reports citing Sputnik.

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, they hope to improve their response to the celestial threat during the 2019 Planetary Defence Conference, scheduled for next week. 

Attendees of the conference will play out a fictional NEO impact scenario, developed by the lab. Such emergency simulations are standard for disaster management planning.

"These exercises have really helped us in the planetary defence community to understand what our colleagues on the disaster management side need to know. This exercise will help us develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments”, NASA's Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson said.

Although the scenario is not tightly scripted, as it is designed to gather and evaluate the responses of participants in a pressing situation, there are a few input conditions. According to the fictional script, astronomers spotted a hazardous NEO on 26 March and tracked the asteroid, dubbed 2019 PDC, for a "few months”, predicting that it poses a 1 in 100 chance of impact with Earth in 2027. 

They will then have to come up with a preparation plan to deflect the hazard and mitigate its potential effects. This is not the first time that NASA has taken part in such drills. Apart from three exercises at Planetary Defence Conferences over the past six years, it has also teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as with the Departments of Defence and State three times. 

Apart from such table top exercises, NASA is also getting ready for its first spacecraft impact asteroid redirect mission. The test, titled Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), is scheduled for June 2021. One of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets will launch in the direction of asteroid 65803 Didymos (or “Didymain”) and its tiny satellite "Didymoon" to slightly change its course. For this, the space agency has paid $69 million to Elon Musk’s company. 

Zumrud Pashkin

Other news