NASA simulation: Earth will be hit by an asteroid – Poland in the field of destruction

A large asteroid is heading towards the Earth. The collision will happen in six months. What should we do? Do we have any chance to be rescued? NASA decided to check it out and at the organized conference conducted a Planetary Defense Conference Exercise, which is a simulation of an asteroid collision with the Earth and possible action scenarios.

It is worth noting at this point that Earth is not in any danger. While the scenario depicted in the simulation is realistic in many ways, it is entirely fictional and does not describe an actual potential asteroid impact.

In the simulation scenario, NASA scientists made several assumptions.

Fictional scenario

On April 19, 2021, an asteroid with a magnitude of 21.5 was spotted, and its existence was confirmed the next day. It was given the name 2021 PDC. A day later, JPL’s Sentry impact monitoring system and the CLOMON system, identified several future dates when this asteroid could potentially hit Earth.

Both systems concluded that the most likely impact date is Oct. 20, 2021 – just six months after the object was detected, but the chance of that happening is small, about 1 in 2,500.

At the time of detection, little could be said about the physical properties of the 2021 PDC. Scientists have not been able to determine the asteroid’s size – based on its measured albedo, they determined it could range from 35 to 700 meters.

The asteroid’s orbit is eccentric – extending from a distance of 0.92 a.u. at its closest point to 1.6 a.u. at its farthest point, just beyond the orbit of Mars. The asteroid’s orbital period is 516 days (1.41 years), and its orbital plane is inclined at an angle of 16 degrees to the plane of Earth’s orbit.

2021 PDC is being intensively observed within a week of its discovery, and as the observational data set grows by the day, the likelihood of a collision increases. The asteroid is too far away to be detected on radar and will not come within range of radar until a potential collisional approach in October. Within a few weeks, the probability of a collision has increased to about 5 percent.

In the following days of observations of the asteroid 2021 PDC, it turns out that it is 140 meters by 250 meters and its impact of 21 percent will affect the lives of one million people. The object will hit our planet somewhere in the 800 by 250 km area. The destruction will affect the area within 250 km of the impact site. The scale of the disaster will be enormous.

Can anything be done?

The simulation participants already have all the necessary data, and now they will plan the next steps. Can the impact be prevented? Can the asteroid be destroyed? Or is it “enough” to evacuate the impacted area? The Planetary Defense Conference is still underway and participants are considering all possible patterns of behavior. It is worth mentioning that during a similar exercise conducted two years ago, it was not possible to save New York. Will it be similar this time? What about Poland, which is quite close to the area threatened by the 2021 PDC collision?

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