Earlier this week, NASA launched a five-day simulation exercise that was set to help the organization better prepare for any potential asteroid impact the Earth might encounter in the near future. Though the scenario remains an unlikely situation, NASA has opted to take the better safe than sorry approach.
According to NASA, the exercise is a pre-emptive simulation that is lead by the Center for Near Earth Object studies, which aims to test how agencies and experts from across the world would respond to a potential asteroid wipe-out situation. NASA’s own Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson said, “Each time we participate in an exercise of this nature, we learn more about who the key players are in a disaster event, and who needs to know what information, and when. These exercises ultimately help the planetary defense community communicate with each other and with our governments to ensure we are all coordinated should a potential impact threat be identified in the future.
NASA is now officially gearing up for a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is expected to be the first known test of asteroid deflection technology. The launch of DART is set to occur on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket later this year. The goal of the mission is for the spacecraft itself to crash into an oncoming steroid, changing its orbital speed.
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