NASA and FEMA are practicing what would happen if an asteroid hits the Earth

Article Image

When it comes to extraterrestrial threats, you can never be too careful, and NASA and FEMA aren't taking any chances.The two agencies, together with s...

Posted: Apr 29, 2019 9:14 AM

When it comes to extraterrestrial threats, you can never be too careful, and NASA and FEMA aren't taking any chances.

The two agencies, together with some international groups, are holding a practice run of what would ensue in case an asteroid, comet or other near-Earth object (NEO) came hurtling toward the planet.

This type of natural disaster is not very likely to happen, but would be catastrophic in the rare chance that it actually does, NASA said in June 2018.

The two US agencies are partnering with international groups such as NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), the European Space Agency's Space Situational Awareness-NEO Segment and the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN).

This is a drill

The drill will occur next week at the annual Planetary Defense Conference, where scientists from across the globe gather to discuss "threatening objects" to Earth. Specifically, they will participate in a fictional scenario in which an asteroid has an impact trajectory with the Earth.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) developed the fictional premise.

This is the picture they've painted: It's March 26. Astronomers discovered an NEO that is potentially hazardous to Earth. After tracking an asteroid that they dubbed 2019 PDC for months, they determined that it poses a 1 in 100 chance of impact with Earth in 2027. (Scientists have established these odds as the threshold for action.) What will the emergency management officials and scientists do?

"These exercises have really helped us in the planetary defense community to understand what our colleagues on the disaster management side need to know," NASA's Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson said in a statement. "This exercise will help us develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments."

Practice makes perfect

NASA has participated in six similar NEO impact exercises to date. And as NASA continues to research more exact possible impact locations and effects, as well as orbital motion patterns, they will be able to reveal more accurate predictions in case a real threat arises.

In December, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission finally made it to the asteroid Bennu. It will spend two years studying Bennu. By studying the near-Earth asteroid, scientists are hoping to glimpse more information about asteroids that could impact Earth as well as how planets formed and life began.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 35237

Reported Deaths: 2197
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9978592
Lake3689200
Allen171170
Cass15927
Elkhart138428
St. Joseph130934
Hendricks117773
Hamilton117093
Johnson1117110
Madison59461
Porter54729
Bartholomew52138
Clark51941
LaPorte43424
Howard42934
Tippecanoe4184
Jackson3942
Delaware38540
Shelby37522
Hancock34528
Floyd31940
Boone31635
Vanderburgh2842
Morgan28124
Montgomery24416
Noble23821
Clinton2381
White2389
Decatur22531
Grant21923
Dubois2023
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1718
Dearborn16921
Monroe16912
Greene16925
Warrick16628
Lawrence16524
Kosciusko1561
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Jennings1314
Orange13022
Marshall1282
Scott1213
Franklin1108
Ripley1086
Daviess9416
LaGrange932
Carroll933
Wayne855
Steuben852
Wabash792
Newton7810
Fayette787
Jasper681
Jay530
Washington511
Clay512
Fulton491
Rush483
Randolph483
Pulaski470
Jefferson461
Whitley433
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen341
Perry330
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox290
Huntington282
Blackford272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson172
Parke170
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 122848

Reported Deaths: 5525
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook796733726
Lake8450307
DuPage7818380
Kane6467186
Will5649280
Winnebago231356
McHenry160673
St. Clair117286
Kankakee93050
Kendall81919
Rock Island68324
Champaign6527
Madison59560
Boone47617
DeKalb4225
Sangamon35029
Jackson28910
Randolph2704
Peoria2629
McLean22113
Ogle2143
Stephenson2112
Macon19419
Clinton18817
Union15711
LaSalle15414
Unassigned1470
Whiteside14213
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Warren1170
Out of IL1151
Grundy1012
Jefferson10116
Knox1010
Monroe9612
McDonough9113
Lee821
Cass740
Tazewell745
Henry690
Williamson682
Pulaski550
Marion500
Jasper467
Macoupin462
Adams441
Perry410
Montgomery401
Vermilion401
Morgan381
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Woodford212
Ford201
Menard200
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock171
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Crawford120
Franklin120
Fulton120
Clark110
Logan110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Johnson90
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
Wabash50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Rockville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Casey
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Brazil
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Sunny and hot, with rain on the way!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events