The United States Aerospace Agency (NASA) is organizing exercises to simulate an asteroid about to crash into Earth, destroying an area 150 km wide.
This fictitious collision situation lasted from April 26 to the end of the week, during the 7th Planetary Defense Conference of the International Aerospace Academy. The exercise is being conducted under the direction of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). During the last week of April, CNEOS provided new information to conference participants every day.
The situation begins with the assumption that an asteroid was discovered on April 19 with the name 2021 PDC. Using the collision tracking system, scientists identified that the collision would occur within 6 months, with a chance of occurring of 1/2,500.
On April 26, the accident risk was recalculated to 5%. The fictitious asteroid PDC 2021 has an estimated diameter of between 35 and 700 meters. The expert team also predicts a number of possible impacts, from an air blast causing severe damage to a mass extinction event.
The following day, the situation accelerated until May 2021. At that time, experts in calculating asteroids certainly crashed on Earth and the place of the collision occurred in Europe or North Africa. . However, they know very little about the exact dimensions of the object. CNEOS offers several solutions, including the launch of an atomic bomb on the asteroid. Since it was not possible to deflect the asteroid, they considered interrupting the object’s flight path with a nuclear detonator.
During the third day of the conference, the timeline for the situation was set for the end of June. Using results from a telescope, the researchers calculated that the diameter of PDC 2021 was 160 m and the area of occurrence. Collisions are limited to Central Europe.
On the last day of the conference, CNEOS concluded that the fictional asteroid is around 105 m. It will fall in the Czech Republic near the border with Germany and Austria, with an energy equal to 40,000,000 tons of TNT, the equivalent of a large atomic bomb. The asteroid would destroy an area 150 km wide. As the stages progress, authorities receive feedback based on the latest data they release, helping to ensure that each division is functioning well to manage the disaster.
In fact, NASA plans to launch a spacecraft to deflect the asteroid, helping correct its orbit if the object flies toward Earth. The DART mission will be launched in late 2021 or early 2022. The probe will fly towards the Didymos asteroid binary system and crash into an asteroid at 7 km / s, measuring its flight path instead.