For those who think Elon Musk should focus more on how to improve Earth, a certain person tagged Musk in a Tweet that shared an article saying NASA has just simulated an asteroid and were not able to engineer a solution in order to avoid impact within a given period. Could this be the ultimate reason behind Elon Musk's fuel to bring humanity to space?
Potential Asteroid Hitting Earth?
According to Business Insider, a group of US and European space agency experts attended a particular week-long exercise led by NASA where they all tackled a hypothetical scenario. The scenario involved an asteroid that was 35 million miles away but was approaching the planet and could even hit Earth within just six months.
With every passing day of the particular exercise, the participants then studied the asteroid's size, trajectory, and even how big was the chance of impact. They then had to cooperate and use their knowledge to find out if anything could be done to stop the space rock.
Experts reportedly fell short and the group determined that as of the moment, none of Earth's current technologies would be enough to stop the hypothetical asteroid from hitting Earth within the six-month timeframe for the simulation. In the hypothetical simulation estimates, the asteroid would then crash into eastern Europe.
As far as everyone knows, there is currently no asteroid that poses this grave of a threat to Earth but there is an estimated two-thirds of a whole asteroid--140 meters in size or bigger--that still remains undiscovered. This is why NASA as well as other agencies are currently trying to prepare for such a type of situation.
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NASA's planetary defense officer known as Lindley Johnson noted in a press release that the exercises do ultimately help the whole planetary-defense community communicate with one another as well as with their governments in order to ensure that they are all coordinated should a particular potential impact threat be identified some time in the future. The fictitious asteroid that was noted in the simulation was then called 2021PDC.
In the situation that was created by NASA, it was initially "spotted" on April 19 then after a week, scientists then calculated it had a 5% chance of hitting the planet on October 20 just six months after it had been discovered. The day 2 exercise then fast-forwarded to May 2, when the new impact-trajectory calculations then showed that 2021PDC could certainly hit either northern Africa or Europe.
The participants that joined the simulation considered a number of missions where a spacecraft could potentially destroy or deflect an asteroid off its own path. The results however, showed that Earth wasn't ready. When Elon Musk , SpaceX CEO, was tagged in the Tweet, he then replied that it was one of many reasons why there should be "larger & more advanced rockets!"
One of many reasons why we need larger & more advanced rockets!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 2, 2021
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Written by Urian B.