NASA year 2020 doomsday asteroid deflection plan proven to be a hoax, not entirely true.
Despite recent terrifying media reports of an asteroid set on a path to ‘end the world’ space agency NASA has confirmed that there is no cause for alarm since they are not currently tracking an asteroid which is set on a collision course with Earth but are preparing for the eventuality either way.
In a joint effort with the European Space Agency (ESA) NASA plan to investigate their Asteroid Impact and Deflection (AIDA) mission, planned for launch in the year 2020. There is massive support for the mission from scientists all over the world who are calling on European officials to go ahead with the plan.
Although scientists once believed that the chance of an ‘earth-killer asteroid striking our planet was a rare one, the Chelyabinsk meteor strike which occurred in 2013 offered a grave reminder of the potential damage which a falling space rock could cause when the 65-foot meteor injured around 1200 people and damaged thousands of buildings in the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia. ‘A bigger space rock could have wiped out the entire city’ say scientists.
Alan Harris, a senior scientist from the German Aerospace Centre has told reporters at a press conference held on Monday that ‘It is not enough to know the approximate number and sizes of space rocks that could pose a potential threat to our planet, in order to prepare for deflection of an asteroid we would need to know much more.’ There are currently more than 1700 asteroids that are considered dangerous.
AIDA is actually two missions shared between the agencies; ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission and NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). Both are planned to intercept the 800m wide asteroid Didymos and its smaller moonlet Didymoon (about 170m in diameter) which are both expected to bypass our planet in the year 2022, about 6.8 million miles away from our planet.
The mission plan is to launch the AIM spacecraft in October 2020 to arrive at Didymos is June 2022 which will study the asteroid system. AIM will study the impact of the DART spacecraft which will crash in to and slightly adjust the orbit of Didymoon around Didymos. The main objective of the joint effort is to test the type of technology that could one day be used to knock a dangerous asteroid off its trajectory.
The AIDA mission will be the first mission that allows scientists to observe an impact experiment at asteroid scale, which could be used to validate collision models. The mission managers behind AIDA confirm that testing the technology which may one day protect the Earth is not their only concern since they also want to gain scientific knowledge about asteroids in general.
By: Warren Lee Nair