Op-Ed: Good news for a change — NASA proves there’s a defense against killer asteroids
The space rock will zoom by Earth between July and August 2020
NASA says it has found a way to reduce the potential impact of an asteroid hitting the Earth.
When the rock is close to the orbit of Earth, it’s as dangerous as a meteor. But NASA says it has developed a way to deflect a potentially devastating collision.
“This asteroid has the potential to be a very serious threat to our planet, but now we have a new tool to potentially avert an impact with the Earth,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tells Mashable.
The asteroid, dubbed 2039E is thought to have a very rough surface with rocks of all sizes embedded in it.
But a new computer model that simulated the asteroid found a way to deflect it.
“It’s not only that I am confident we can deflect and that we can do this, but the fact that we are doing it is incredibly important.”
Bridenstine also made it clear he’d like to use the information from the simulation to prepare the nation for a collision with an asteroid.
“We have a unique opportunity to gather as much information on asteroids as we can and to share that information with the public and with the scientific community.”
NASA says the new tool will be used for planning future missions to asteroids and a spacecraft that will target an asteroid for study. (NASA)
The Space Debris and Orbital Debris (SDOD) Act was passed by Congress in 1998 with a specific goal. It requires that the agency develop a plan to prevent a catastrophic loss of life if an object is knocked by space debris.
In 2013, the Department of Transportation, NASA and the National Research Council produced findings that suggested asteroid mitigation would cost $1.2 billion per year.
A lot of money to pay for a solution that NASA says could avoid $500 billion in damages.
“It’s a cost-effective approach, so in the long term, it�