More than 100 participants from 18 countries – including NASA scientists and the NEOWISE Agency work – participated in this international mission.
We know that asteroids have invaded the Earth in the past with devastating effects, such as the asteroid 66 million years ago that wiped out a dinosaur. New research has found that the original Earth was likely ten times more potent than previously thought. The asteroid Apophis quickly became a potential threat to the planet in 2029. Fortunately, new data had an impact at that time, and additional data showed that the Earth is safer for Apophis, at least for the next. 100 years.
Since the “killer of the planet” threat is natural, space agencies have been stepping up their efforts to protect the planet. A recent exercise involving more than 100 astronomers around the world has used the asteroid, as mentioned earlier, Apophis, as a way to land in a potentially dangerous place. The lessons learned can help reduce or prevent global devastation when the situation becomes more real.
Looking at the sky to find the world’s largest potentially dangerous asteroids is a global undertaking. Therefore, to test its readiness to operate, the international planetary defense community will sometimes use the near-term approach of a real asteroid as a humorous encounter with a potentially dangerous “new” asteroid. The lessons learned can limit or prevent global devastation if the situation seems more realistic in the future.
More than 100 astronomers worldwide took part in the exercise last year when a large, well-known, and potentially dangerous asteroid was removed from a planetary defense monitoring site to determine if it could be adequately recovered. Not only was the object “discovered” during the exercise, but its potential to hit the Earth was further explored as it was tracked, and it was determined that it could have an impact.