“The God of Chaos” asteroid is on its way to Earth, and the guys at NASA are already preparing for this incredible opportunity that spells either progress or total disaster.
The 1,100-foot-wide asteroid nicknamed Apophis after the Egyptian god of chaos is expected to pass in extremely close proximity to Earth in the year 2029.
Scientists worldwide are on their toes since the colossal space rock will transit at a distance of 19,000 miles from Earth, which is as close as some spacecraft are currently orbiting the planet.
While researchers at the Planetary Defence Conference are trying to figure out what implications 99942 Apophis will have on Earth’s gravity and other study opportunities, NASA is already preparing for an asteroid hazard scenario.
To do so, they will engage in a simulation of an “asteroid apocalypse” that will test their emergency reaction to such an event.
The drill is considered a “tabletop exercise” and will have both the FEMA guys and the European Space Station (ESA) as official partners for this post-apocalyptic exercise.
We’ve never experienced a direct asteroid hit of this magnitude in modern times. However, considering that 99942 Apophis will pass so close to the Earth that we’ll be able to enjoy the spectacle with the naked eye, space agencies across the globe don’t want to take any chances.
And speaking of odds, the asteroid has 1 in 100 chance of colliding with our planet, which is the threshold that space and disaster management agencies consider enough for taking precaution measures.
These exercises have really helped us in the planetary defence community to understand what our colleagues on the disaster management side need to know,” said Lindley Johnson, one of NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer.
The drill is meant to “help [them] develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments,” added Mr. Johnson.
Overall, the parties involved aim to agree upon and to test various missions that would ward off the threat of Apophis, and also make an emergency plan in case a collision occurs.
What emergency managers want to know is when, where and how an asteroid would impact, and the type and extent of damage that could occur,” said Leviticus Lewis of the Response Operations Divisions for FEMA.
99942 Apophis is expected to hurtle past Earth on April 13 2029, a date that send shivers down the spine of numerologist or those more superstitious who view this number as an omen of bad luck.
However, knowing that a collective effort to deflect the asteroid by top organization is already being conducted, the situation already looks more reassuring.
There are, however, many variables to be taken into account. Even if Apophis will hit the Earth, a decisive factor for the magnitude of disaster will be its landing place.
Although chances are slim for an impact, such space encounters should never be treated lightly.
Do you feel like we are in safe hands and that NASA, ESA and FEMA could successfully withstand or deflect an asteroid threat?
Or would you rather take matters in your own hands and prepare for a possible end-days scenario?
Since we are living on this planet together, it is safe to assume that the ones governing over us will take care of everything.
But I believe a bit of individual effort will come a long way in the wake of a cataclysm of global proportions.