In Washington, space explorers from around the world are simulating how the world can prepare for a potentially catastrophic collision of our planet with an asteroid.
NASA boss Jim Breidenstein himself came to open the maneuver. For five days, space explorers around the world simulate what to do and what to do when an asteroid collides with Earth.
Breidenstein refers again and again to the 20-meter meteoroid, which destroyed more than 7,000 buildings in Russia in 2013. The simulation game in Washington starts from a rock that is between 100 and 300 meters high, which comes so close to Earth in 2024 that it hits with a probability of 1 to 100.
„We need to make sure people understand that this is not Hollywood, it’s about protecting the only planet we know exists there.“
The goal is the development of international technologies
As in the science-fiction film, this maneuver is about whether space technology is far enough to save Earth in an emergency.
„One goal is to develop international technologies for distracting or destroying asteroids near the earth, and a Japanese mission to bombard an asteroid in April is already providing information.“
But, according to Breidenstein, we have to know the full extent of the threat in order to be able to react at all. An estimated 25,000 large asteroids are in our solar system. Only a third of them are registered, described and their trajectory calculated.
„For the friends from Europe here: That’s big enough to destroy a whole European country.“
How can authorities respond promptly?
And for as many as possible, you want to calculate where they will be in 100 or 200 years, and also to give later generations information about the danger from space.
The scientists also deal with questions about the threat. How do you meaningfully inform the population? How do politicians around the world manage to make decisions quickly and effectively? And what has to be done, what can be done if the disaster happens and a big asteroid hits?
Preparations for Friday, the 13th
One way to practice with a great deal of reality and gather important information will be on Friday, April 13, 2029, a day for space scientists around the world to prepare. Then the 370 meter asteroid „Apophis“ will fly so close to the earth that you can probably see it with the naked eye, but it will fly by.