Researchers estimate that there is a risk of one percent that a space rock will crush onto our planet on April 27, 2027. The asteroid is apparently traveling towards our solar system at 14 kilometers per second, has a diameter of 100 to 300 meters and is at a distance of about 57 million kilometers from Earth. The potential scenario had astronomers, scientists, engineers, and emergency agents to come together in a drill, in a Washington suburb. China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Israel, and the United States are some of the states represented at the exercise.
The idea that an asteroid might collide with Earth was once a hilarious matter, however, when a meteor blew up over Russia on February 15, 2013, put an end to the sneers. A 20 meter (65 foot) asteroid exploded over the southern Urals, 23 kilometers (14 miles) above the town of Chelyabinsk with such a powerful force that it blew up the windows of thousands of buildings, which caused injuries on about one thousand people.
Astronomers discover new asteroids every day: there are more than 700 so far this year, with a total of 20,001, Lindley Johnson of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office said. The space rocks of interest are only those ‘close to Earth,’ 31 million miles from our planet. Among the riskiest asteroids is one named 2000SG344. This rock, with a diameter of 165 feet, has one in 2,096 chance to collide with the Earth within a hundred years, ESA said.
NASA plans to drill and asteroid in 2020 to come up with a solution to defend the planet
Most of the asteroids are small, but of them, 942 are more than 0.6 miles across, estimates astronomer Alan Harris. The rocks are discovered in principle by two US telescopes, but the European Space Agency built a telescope for this purpose in Spain and is planning to create others in Sicily and Chile.
This week’s drill is set to simulate the global response to a disastrous meteorite, by firstly is aiming telescopes at the rock and accurately calculate its speed and trajectory. The plan is then going down to two choices: deflect the rock or evacuate.
If the rock is less than 165 feet, the international agreement is to evacuate the jeopardized area. According to Detlef Koschny, co-manager of the Planetary Defence Office of the European Space Agency (ESA), it is possible to forecast which country will be hit two weeks ahead, and days away from the collision, it can be reduced to hundreds of kilometers.
In case the asteroid is more prominent, the plan is to shot a device at the rock to deflect its trajectory. NASA plans to test this theory in 2020 on a real space rock of 492 feet across, with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.