U.S. stepping up the earth’s protection from asteroids

GETTY“NASA will lead development of technologies for fast-response near Earth object

This plan outlines the steps NASA, the White House, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will take over the next decade to prevent and prepare for a unsafe asteroid strike to Earth. With that in mind, the USA and other nations have long sought to track such "near-earth objects", or NEOs, co-ordinating efforts through the International Asteroid Warning Network and the UN.

Altogether, NASA has cataloged 18,310 objects of all sizes.

Now, the space agency is more focused on searching the asteroids, which are larger than 450 feet across and also known as the "city-killers".

And if the asteroid was bigger, such as the Chicxulub asteroid - which wiped out the dinosaurs - experts say it would be hard to turn away. For instance, a 40- to 60-meter asteroid that exploded over Tunguska, Russia, leveled 2,000 square kilometers of forest.

The report, compiled by authorities including NASA and the White House, states if this were to happen over a city such as NY, it could kill millions of people. While referring about the asteroid attack, the experts cited the incident of Tunguska as an alert. NEO stands for near-Earth Object. The really scary part is that the asteroid was detected a mere couple of hours before the flyby. National Aeronautics and Space Administration revealed that about ninety- five per cent of asteroids might possess a risk to our Earth. This kind of information would then be disseminated to able government bodies in order to form contingency plans and quick-response missions. The document also outlines what will be done to prepare the country for the potential consequences of an asteroid strike.

As per a NASA report of 2016, which the organization published this month, the American space agency is keen to develop a strategy in collaboration with several federal agencies to determine the position of the asteroids that may pose threat to our home planet and track them. It's worth noting that were this to happen today, there wouldn't be much we could do.

To deflect an asteroid or comet, a powerful robotic spacecraft would be put on a collision course with the object in the hope of changing its path.

Scientists hope to learn a lot more about asteroids from a pair of missions now underway. The spacecraft NASA's Osiris-Rex will arrive at the asteroid Bennu later this year and will return with samples by 2023, and the Japanese Hyabusa 2 will approach the asteroid Ryugu and return with samples in 2020.

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