Incoming asteroids can pose a serious threat if they strike the planet. Because of this concern, there will be an asteroid drill for the prevention of future rocks hurdling through the galaxy from hitting the Earth.
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office for NASA is a centralized unity in charge of coordinating efforts to protect Earth from hazardous asteroids, which makes sense for them to be in charge of the October drill. It’s responsible for finding, tracking and characterizing potentially hazardous objects coming near Earth and issuing warnings about possible impacts, if there were to be an actual threat.
This year on October 12th, “asteroid 2012 TC4,” which is thought to be between 33 feet and 100 feet wide, will come as near as 4,200 miles to Earth. There is said to be no danger of the asteroids flyby but astronomers will be following the pass of the space rock closely, as a way of testing the “international asteroid detection and tracking network.”
The asteroid 2012 TC4, as its name suggests was discovered in Hawaii by the “Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System.” However, the astronomers were only able to track the asteroid for seven days, and because of that the asteroids orbit isn’t known precisely.
“I think it’s good that NASA is taking this step and being precautious of future asteroids that might hit the Earth.”
-Christopher De La Torre
In the asteroid drill, NASA plans to launch a fridge-sized spacecraft towards the space rock in hopes of changing its direction. The results or analysis will help scientists test the observation process to make sure it can predict exactly where a hurtling space rock will be at a given time.
Every 2000 years, or so, a meteor the size of a football field hits the earth and damages the area greatly. Due to the extreme damage, NASA takes huge precautions beforehand to make sure our planet earth is not harmed. The PDCO (Planetary Defense Coordination Office) ensures early detection of potentially hazardous objects whose orbits are predicted to being 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth and a size large enough to reach Earth’s surface. NASA tracks and characterizes these objects and issues warnings about potential impacts, providing timely and accurate information.