Scientists have suggested possible ways to stop the Earth from being devastated by the impact of an asteroid on a path to hit the planet. Pete Worden, adviser on space resources to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, told ABC News if an asteroid was a big enough threat to the planet “we’ll go move them”.
In fact, while asteroid 2006 QQ23 is considered to be a “potentially hazardous asteroid,” its passage will be about 5 million miles away from Earth, “just barely into the zone that we start to keep closer track of these objects,” NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson told ABC News.
Johnson added that “there isn’t much significant” about the upcoming asteroid. Scientists have been aware of its existence since 2006, Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, told ABC News.
In 2021, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test will take place, essentially demonstrating the kinetic effects of bumping into a small asteroid to detect how much they can move its path – in a way to defend the planet in the future.
Wordon said: “The thing is, if you move something years in advance, you don’t have to move it very much.
“This is a rock that’s the size of a skyscraper.
“You would then hit it with a spacecraft kind of the size of a small car, and by impacting it, it impacts energy and momentum and will move it slightly off its orbit.”
About 25 asteroids are expected to fly within 5 million miles of the earth in the next 60 days, and smaller asteroids pass even closer “all the time,” Johnson said.
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