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Asteroid Apocalypse: NASA & National Nuclear Defense Team Up

Asteroid Apocalypse Asteroid Apocalypse

An asteroid apocalypse?  It’s the stuff Hollywood movies are made of: an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, so the world’s greatest scientists team up to blow it up in an attempt to thwart the threat of complete annihilation of life on Earth.

Except now, it’s really happening.  Well, at least the part where teams of great minds are coming together to figure out a plan to blow up an asteroid with a nuclear bomb should we ever face such a threat.  With conspiracy theories running rampant lately that an asteroid will, indeed, crash into Earth in September of 2015 [1], some are calling the timing of a recent announcement interesting.

The Huffington Post reports [2]:  “[NASA] is teaming up with the National Nuclear Security Administration to work on a planetary defense plan [3] to deflect a potential doomsday asteroid so it doesn’t strike Earth, according to The New York Times.

Last week’s announcement came ahead of the first official ‘Asteroid Day’ [4] on June 30, a day scientists hope will raise awareness of the threat posed by near-Earth objects and encourage governments to develop a better plan to detect and track them. 

June 30 is the anniversary of the 1908 impact of an asteroid in Siberia that wiped out some 800 square miles of forest. The surprise impact of the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor, which caused a 500-kiloton airburst over Russia [5], shows potentially threatening space rocks are still out there.”

The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor is one of the main reasons that the agencies have had a “wake up call” to the potential of an “asteroid apocalypse”, according to reports.  The NY Times said recently [3]:

In 2013, this extraterrestrial threat gained new credibility after a 7,000-ton rock — roughly 60 feet wide and technically a meteoroid, smaller than an asteroid — exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,500 people, mainly as shards flew from shattered windows. The dazzling light from the rocky intruder blinded eyes and burned skin even though the temperature that day was far below freezing.

The two agencies — NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration — have long studied such threats on their own. They have surveyed the cosmic debris, designed rocket interceptors and run supercomputer simulations to see if a nuclear blast could nudge a large asteroid off course.

In interviews, federal officials and private experts said the new interagency agreement would deepen the levels of expert cooperation and governmental planning, ultimately increasing the chances of a successful deflection.

‘It’s a big step forward,’ said Kevin Greenaugh, a senior official at the nuclear security agency. ‘Whenever you have multiple agencies coming together for the common defense, that’s news.‘”

Hopefully, this news will and the agencies teaming up will help thwart any potential asteroid apocalypse – at least in our lifetimes.

 

Sources:

[1] http://loop21.com/world-news/meteor-gonna-asteroid-end-human-life-heading-earth-2129/

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/nasa-nuke-asteroid-plan_n_7651004.html

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/science/agencies-make-plans-to-step-up-planetary-defense.html

[4] http://www.asteroidday.org/

[5] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v503/n7475/full/nature12741.html

Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn (3467 Articles)
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  • Gabe

    Apophis 2036