What Would Happen If An Asteroid Hurtled Towards The Earth? Scientist Have A Plan To Save Humanity
Hollywood has always had a fascination with the apocalypse, whether we’re talking about thermonuclear war, an unexpected zombie uprising, an alien invasion, or a series of natural disasters that not even Dwayne Johnson’s giant muscles can stop.
However, there’s one other threat that’s continuously popped up in movies: asteroids.
If Armageddon or Deep Impact are to be believed, all we have to do to avoid falling victim to a giant space rock hurtling towards the planet is figure out a way to deploy a ton of explosives.
Unfortunately, the reality isn’t that simple.
In the past year alone, the Earth has had a few relatively close calls with asteroids that would have seriously fucked our shit up if they’d hit the planet and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to stop coming into our general vicinity any time soon
Thankfully, the odds of one of them actually hitting the Earth are fairly…astronomical (get it?) but that doesn’t mean scientist aren’t getting prepared—including NASA, which has started to develop anti-asteroid technology to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
However, they’re not the only ones.
According to Yahoo, a group of researchers from around the world recently gathered at the University of Maryland to address this problem, which isn’t as far-fetched as you might think (a small asteroid exploded over Russia in 2013 and injured thousands of people after breaking up in the atmosphere).
While there’s nothing we can really do to protect ourselves from planetary threats like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, scientists say they have two plans in place depending on the size of the interstellar object: evacuating or deflecting:
If it is less than 165 feet, the international consensus is to evacuate the threatened region. According to Koschny, it is possible to predict the country it will strike two weeks ahead. Days away from impact, it can be narrowed down to within hundreds of kilometers.
What about bigger objects? Trying to nuke them to smithereens like in the movie Armageddon would be bad idea, because it could just create smaller but still dangerous pieces.
The plan, instead, is to launch a device toward the asteroid to divert its trajectory — like a cosmic bumper car.
It’s unclear if Bruce Willis will be involved in either of these endeavors but I’m holding out hope.