- NASA rules out a possible collision between no known asteroid and Earth within 100 years
- This Tuesday, the space agency plans to launch the DART mission, which will allow them to test technology to deflect a threat to our planet
- Of course, they will have to wait patiently for the results of the program until October 2022
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rules out a possible collision between any known asteroid and Earth for the next 100 years. So unless a new asteroid appears, we will live quietly on Earth for a while longer.
This Tuesday, the US space agency plans to launch the DART mission, which will allow them to test technology designed to deflect a threat to our planet. But NASA wanted to clarify that they do not anticipate any possible collision with Earth, at least not in the next 100 years.
NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years
Luis Rodríguez, a software engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and who is in charge of the frontal cameras of the DART mission, said clearly that “there is no known asteroid that is going to impact us” in a century.
However, Rodríguez considers it important to “be prepared” in case an unknown asteroid should appear or if the remote probability of an impact becomes greater after 100 years, the EFE news agency reported.
DART mission: ready to protect the Earth
Precisely, foreseeing that a space threat could one day approach our planet, NASA will deploy the DART mission this Tuesday. The spacecraft will depart from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, United States, at 22:21 local time (6:21 GMT).
What will they do? Crash a ship! Yes, the goal is to test new technology that avoids a collision with Earth, so they will collide with an asteroid to divert it from its orbit. It is not that we are at risk, it is tests that will allow engineers and scientists to adjust their calculations.
The first tests to defend the planet
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) ship will launch towards the asteroid Didymos which has a small moon called Dimorphos. NASA’s target is precisely that little moon. The impact is expected to alter the orbit of that moon.
It is there where the specialized personnel of NASA will evaluate the changes that the impact would generate in the orbit of Dimorphos around Didymos. This unprecedented mission will confirm if this method is viable to defend the Earth in the long term.
Impact at full speed
For things to go according to plan, Rodriguez says the DART spacecraft will go “incredibly fast,” just enough for it to affect “a little” the heading of the asteroid, which is the size of the George Washington Monument.
Of course, they will have to wait patiently for the results, because this impact is programmed to occur. in October 2022. Yes, a year of waiting, and then combine the results with those obtained by the European Space Agency with its Hera mission, scheduled between 2024 and 2026.
Asteroids threatening the Earth
NASA constantly studies everything related to near-Earth asteroids, their measurements, trajectories, speed, among other data that allow us to analyze whether or not there is a danger of impact. Rodríguez affirms that this is a fundamental mission for NASA’s planetary defense.
Just earlier this year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission found an asteroid that will pass closer to Earth than the Moon in 2135. It is the Bennu asteroid, which measures 500 meters in diameter and is considered one of the main threats astronomers have discovered. This is because from the year 2135, the space body will get very close to Earth.
NASA finds asteroid that will pass closer to Earth than the Moon in 2135
The NASA mission managed to predict with ultra precision what the asteroid’s trajectory will be in the next few centuries. According to his calculations, with a precision of 2 meters, Bennu will pass closer to the Earth than the Moon itself. “We have never modeled the trajectory of an asteroid with such precision,” they said.
“NEW: Researchers using data from our #OSIRISREx mission have obtained more information about the trajectory of the asteroid Bennu up to the year 2300. The findings could help us refine the orbits of other asteroids and reduce uncertainties,” they announced in their twitter account.
Is there a risk that it will hit the Earth?
With the new data, NASA foresees that after its passage so close to Earth, the space rock will cross a “gravitational keyhole”, which is a region of space where the gravity of a planet alters the orbit of an asteroid. In effect, going through there would change its trajectory.
The big question is: will it head towards Earth? NASA has designed various models. Luckily for humanity, Davide Farnocchia, lead author of the study, said at a press conference: “We must bear in mind that the probability of impact, in general, is really small.”
Extremely small chance of impact
This Wednesday, NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies reported that the probability of impact increased, although still extremely small, from 1 in 1,750, a percentage of 0.057%, at least until the year 2300. riskiest day will be September 24, 2182, when a probability of 0.037% opens.
Even so, NASA has put ‘hands to work’ and it is that they intend to design a spacecraft that can change the trajectory of asteroids, in what they have called the DART mission. They hope to achieve this by impacting with the space rock or against one of its “moons”, reported EFE.
Protect the planet
Although the chances of impact are slim, protecting the planet appears to be the new direction for space scientists. “We must remember that the risk from Bennu as a single asteroid is less than the risks from the undiscovered similarly sized objects. That’s why NASA is making a big effort to discover more than 90% of near-Earth objects over 140 meters in size, ”said Farnocchia.
But they are not the only ones seeking to ‘dominate’ the space. China also proposed an alternative to eliminate the space risk more than 320 million kilometers from Earth and that is that they propose to launch 23 rockets to divert Bennu. NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years.