The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believes that Hollywood isn’t the only place where asteroids crash into earth. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine believes that the prospect of a killer asteroid crashing into earth is a distinct possibility in our lifetimes. Bridenstine announced this at the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference in Washington. 

Chelyabinsk Event taken as example

We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood, it's not about the movies. This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know, right now, to host life and that is the planet Earth.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator

The Chelyabinsk Event refers to the meteor which blazed over the southern Ural region of Russia at speeds of up to 69,000 km/h. It was approximately 66 feet in size. This was at a height of 29.7 km. The meteor explosion damaged property. It is reported that more than 1,500 people living in the region were hospitalized for injuries.

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

Bridenstine said planetary defense is just as critical as other NASA objectives, like landing humans on the moon. Part of NASA’s efforts to defend the Earth against asteroids include the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission. DART is slated to lift off in June 2021 and includes help from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. 

NASA can track large asteroids near Earth

NASA has detailed plans to track the movements of as many as 90 percent of asteroids near earth. All of them are sizes 140 meters or larger. Generally, meteors lose a lot of their mass while entering the earth’s atmosphere. The meteor that exploded over Russia in 2013 measured around 20 meters. That was one-seventh of the size of the rocks that NASA wants to track.


Cover Image Source: independent


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