NASA rules out collision between any known asteroid and Earth for 100 years

NASA ruled out a possible collision between any known asteroid and Earth for 100 years. This Tuesday, the space agency plans to launch th...

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  • NASA ruled out a possible collision between any known asteroid and Earth for 100 years.
  • This Tuesday, the space agency plans to launch the DART mission to test technology designed to deflect a threat to Earth.
  • NASA will wait patiently for the program’s results until October 2022.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ruled out a possible collision between any known asteroid and Earth for the next 100 years. So unless a new asteroid appears, we will live peacefully on Earth for a while longer.

This Tuesday, the U.S. space agency plans to launch the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which will allow them to test technology designed to deflect a threat to our planet. But NASA clarified that they do not anticipate any possible collision with Earth for, at least, the next one hundred years.

NASA said no known asteroid will collide with Earth for the next 100 years

NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years
Photo: Twitter

Luis Rodríguez, a software engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory who is in charge of the DART mission’s frontal cameras, said that, “there is no known asteroid that is going to impact us,” in the next 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 Earth

NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years
Photo: Twitter

Considering that a space threat could one day endanger 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 10:21 p.m. local time (6:21 a.m. GMT).

What will they do? Crash a ship! Yes, the goal is to test new technology that prevents a collision with Earth by crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid to divert it from its orbit. It is not because we are at risk. It is a test that will allow engineers and scientists to adjust their calculations.

The first tests to defend the planet

NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years
Photo: Shutterstock

The DART ship will be launched toward the asteroid Didymos, which has a small moon called Dimorphos. NASA’s target is precisely that little moon. The impact is expected to alter that moon’s orbit.

NASA’s specialized personnel will evaluate the changes that the impact would generate Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos. This unprecedented mission will confirm whether this method is viable for defending Earth in the long term.

Impact at full speed

NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years
Photo: Shutterstock

For things to go according to plan, Rodriguez says the DART spacecraft will go incredibly fast, just enough for it to slightly affect the asteroid’s trajectory. The asteroid is the size of the Washington Monument.

NASA will have to wait patiently for the results because this impact is programmed to occur in October 2022. Yes, it’s a year of waiting. Then, the results will be combined with those from the European Space Agency’s Hera mission, which is scheduled between 2024 and 2026.

Asteroids threatening Earth

NASA rules out collision between known asteroid and Earth in 100 years
Photo: Shutterstock

NASA constantly moniters everything related to near-Earth asteroids, their measurements, trajectories, speed, and other data that allow us to determine whether there is a danger of impact. Rodríguez confirms that this is a fundamental mission for NASA’s planetary defense.

Earlier this year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission found an asteroid that will pass closer to Earth than the Moon in the year 2135. It is the asteroid Bennu, which measures 500 meters in diameter and considered one of the main threats that 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

NASA finds asteroid that will pass closer to Earth than the Moon in 2135
Photo: Twitter

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, precise up to 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,” he 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 on Twitter.

Is there a risk that it will hit Earth?

Photo: Twitter

With the new data, NASA foresees that after it passes 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 an asteroid’s orbit. In effect, going through this region would change its trajectory.

The big question is: Will it head toward 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

Photo: Twitter

This Wednesday, NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies reported that the probability of impact has increased (although it’s still extremely small) from 1 in 1,750, a percentage of 0.057%, at least until the year 2300. The riskiest day will be September 24, 2182, when a probability increases to 0.037%.

Even so, NASA has put their hands to work. They intend to design a spacecraft that can change the asteroid’s trajectory through the DART mission. They hope to achieve this by crashing into the space rock or against one of its moons, EFE reported.

Protect the planet

PHOTO: Getty Images Archive

Although the chances of impact are slim, protecting the planet appears to be the a 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,” Farnocchia said.

But NASA is not the only group seeking to “dominate” space. China also proposed an alternative to eliminate the space risk more than 320 million kilometers from Earth. It proposed to launch 23 rockets to divert Bennu.

The post NASA rules out collision between any known asteroid and Earth in 100 years appeared first on MundoHispanico.

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