Washington (TFT) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) along with several other agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), have released a 20-page report outlining a 10-year asteroid detection and defense strategy.
“The National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan” outlines new steps that will be taken to increase coordination and organization within government agencies to discover, track and possibly defend against an NEO, or near-earth object.
NASA seeks to achieve five strategic goals that will increase Earth’s chance of surviving a serious impact. From tracking to detection, emergency protocols to “deflection and disruption missions”, the new plan will allow government agencies to better respond to a “low-probability but very high-consequence natural disaster.”
To underscore the difficulty of tracking NEO’s on a possible collision course with the planet, an asteroid spotted on June 2 hit the Earth mere hours after it was first discovered. Although the asteroid was only six-feet in diameter and quickly disintegrated in the atmosphere, it approached at a speed of nearly 38,000 miles per hour.
An asteroid strike that occurred in 1908 over Russia leveled 2,000 square kilometers of forest and exploded with a force of 5-10 megatons of TNT, an impact “hundreds of times” more powerful than the first atomic bomb. The new report warns that a similar strike over a metropolitan area could cause millions of casualties.
There are currently more than 300,000 of these potentially hazardous objects larger than 40 meters that could pose an impact threat according to NASA, all of which would be “very challenging to detect more than a few days in advance.”
To learn more about how NASA tracks near-earth objects, please view the video below.
The Foggy Times | Hunter Gomez