A group of experts has attended a week-long exercise led by NASA in which they had to face a hypothetical scenario: an asteroid 56 million kilometers away was approaching the planet and could impact in six months .
What happened in this simulation ?
The fictional asteroid in the simulation was named 2021PDC . On the NASA stage, it was first "detected" on April 19, at which point it was thought to have a 5 percent chance of hitting our planet on October 20, six months after the date of your discovery .
But day 2 of the exercise was quickly advanced to May 2, when recalculations of the impact trajectory showed that 2021PDC would almost certainly affect Europe or North Africa.
The simulation participants considered various missions to try to destroy the asteroid or divert it from its path.
With each day that passed during the exercise, the participants learned more about the size, trajectory, and potential of the asteroid impact. They also had to cooperate and use their technological knowledge to see if anything could be done to stop the space rock .
They concluded that such missions could not take off in the short period of time before the asteroid impact. They also considered trying to blow up or destroy the asteroid with a nuclear explosive device, without success. That is, we could not save ourselves.
The group thus determined that none of the existing technologies on Earth could prevent the hypothetical asteroid from hitting within six months of the simulation . In this alternate reality, the asteroid crashed into Eastern Europe.
To our knowledge, no asteroid currently poses a threat to Earth in this way. But an estimated two-thirds of asteroids 140 meters in size or larger, large enough to wreak considerable havoc, remain undiscovered. That is why NASA and other agencies are trying to prepare for such a situation.