Former astronaut Ed Lu, who is also the co-founder of the B612 Foundation as well as the executive director of the Asteroid Institute, announced his new goal: to prevent asteroids from colliding with Earth.
NASA has stated that they currently do not know of any potential asteroids which could hit Earth within the next century. Nevertheless, Lu and many other scientists are working out strategies in case of a global threat.
During an interview with NBC News’ Ella Koscher, Lu stated Earth will most likely face an asteroid at some point. He explained that eventually, luck runs out. However, scientists have the technology to track asteroids. NASA also has the technology to destroy asteroids.
Currently, teams are creating maps with locations and projected directions of the asteroids in the solar system. This guide allows scientists to know about possible asteroid collisions decades ahead of their occurrence. Knowing this information in advance gives officials time to come up with solutions.
NASA AND FEMA CREATED A PLAN IN CASE ASTEROIDS POSE A THREAT
In the case that an asteroid was on a collision path with Earth, Lu mentioned how NASA would proceed. Lu stated that sending a spacecraft to collide with the incoming asteroid would be ideal. Recently, NASA announced a new plan in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The “National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan” contains eighteen pages that outline a plan to prepare citizens. NASA would tackle the scientific aspects of the mission, while FEMA would deal with evacuation and clean up.
When asked about governments’ roles in the event of a catastrophe, Lu responded:
What world governments need to do is to continue funding telescopes like they are doing right now. Private organizations like the B612 Foundation need to continue our work on finding and tracking asteroids. The issue is being worked on, but we’re not there yet.”
Lu stated that it’s not the actual impact that people should be concerned about, but the resulting explosion. He brought up a small asteroid that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia. The small space rock created an impact with energy thirty times the size of the nuclear bomb dropped in Hiroshima. Imagine the aftermath of a bigger asteroid.
Despite the scary thought of an asteroid hitting Earth, Lu has faith in this plan. He laughed and stated:
“I don’t lose sleep over a lot of things. And again, I look at this as something that we can definitely accomplish if we work together.”
Featured Picture via/NASA