NASA has warned that it is “impossible” to avoid the impact of an asteroid on the Earth’s surface “even if we had six months to spare.”

Elon Musk's curious solution in case an asteroid wants to destroy the Earth
A. Owen Pixabay

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has warned that it is impossible, with today’s technology, to prevent the impact of an asteroid on the Earth’s surface without even knowing that it will occur until six months before.

This warning came after a simulation carried out by nine scientists from the Space Agency in the seventh edition of the Planetary Defense Conference of the International Academy of Astronautics. In this assumption, the founding tycoon of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has insisted on the importance of “having bigger and more advanced rockets.”

Increasing the size of the ships could allow, according to the NASA report, to divert the asteroid from its path to avoid the impact. This is why rockets should be large and powerful to deliver the most powerful nuclear device, although even that would not guarantee success. Only in 64% of the simulated cases has it been possible to reduce the probability of impact, so in no case would it be completely eliminated.

This was the simulation

The simulation suggests that on April 20, 2021, an object between 35 and 700 meters in size had been discovered that would fall to Earth on October 20, 2021, more specifically in the center of Europe. According to mathematical forecasts, the impact would destroy Denmark to Greece, completely eliminating Germany and affecting countries such as France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland or Russia, among others.

“With this simulation, we intend to reveal who are the key agents in the event that something like this happens, who needs to have the information and when it is needed,” explained NASA’s planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson.

Faced with the inevitable impact, policies would have to be directed towards the evacuation of large masses of the population.

Prevention missions

The simulation of the Planetary Defense Conference has shown that the risk of an asteroid impact is real and that, if it occurs, it would decisively affect the evolution of human life on Earth. For this reason, it is becoming increasingly necessary for space agencies and authorities to contemplate prevention plans for events as extraordinary as this one.

In fact, NASA will launch the DART mission into space at the end of the year with the aim of intercepting the asteroid Dimorphos in autumn 2022 and, in this way, assess how the orbits of these space objects can be modified.