Top asteroid experts will be coming together once again for this year’s Planetary Defense Conference. The fake scenario to be discussed this year is an asteroid that’s headed for a 2027 collision with Earth.
Planetary Defense Conference
From April 29 to May 3, the world’s experts on asteroids will come together in Washington DC for the sixth conference in the planetary defense series of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). In the conference, international agencies and top experts will discuss what is currently known about potentially hazardous comets and asteroids, and what can be done should one threaten to collide with Earth.
According to IAA, the conference shows the increasing recognition of such objects as a potential threat to the planet. For instance, asteroid Apophis, named after an Egyptian spirit of evil, darkness, and destruction, is expected to fly close to Earth on April 13, 2029. It is not going to hit the Earth, but with its 340-meter diameter, an asteroid of that size could cause substantial damage to the planet if it hits.
“But suppose another asteroid is discovered and found to be on a collision course. What would we do? We might be able to deflect the object, but could our leaders provide funding and make other decisions at critical points? How would the public react if using a nuclear explosive was the only option for deflection?” IAA says in the press release.
These questions are just some of the issues that will be discussed during the conference.
Fake Asteroid Impact Scenario
The asteroid impact scenario to be discussed at the conference was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is posted on their site in such a way that the International Asteroid Warning Network will do so in a similar event.
It is important to understand that the scenario to be discussed at the conference is fictional but that it will be discussed in a realistic manner. The scenario is as follows:
A magnitude 21.1 asteroid is discovered on March 26, 2019 and confirmed the next day. Calculations classify it as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, and estimates show that it might hit the planet on April 29, 2027. At the time of discovery, its probability of hitting the Earth is at 1 in 50,000.
Three weeks after its discovery, its probability of hitting the Earth has increased to 0.4 percent or 1 chance in 250. By April 29, 2019, the date of the conference, its chance of colliding with Earth has risen to 1 percent.
New Asteroid Information
Again, the scenario is fictional and is not an actual threat.
Apart from the exercise, experts will also be discussing the latest information on comets and asteroids, designs for asteroid missions, techniques on how to move asteroids, possible impact consequences, and disaster mitigation.