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Earth Unprepared for Surprise Asteroid Strike, NASA Scientist Says

Dec 15, 2016 11:28 AM EST
Is the planet prepared for an asteroid or comet impact? A NASA scientists say there's nothing anyone can do if it does happen unless the agency builds a comet and asteroid rocket that can be built and flown in a span of one year.
(Photo : ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA via Getty Images)

Despite NASA's efforts to prepare for an asteroid strike and to improve space rock path detection systems, some say the Earth is still not ready for an unexpected impact.

A doctor discussed this during the annual American Geophysical Union. Dr. Joseph Nuth said that the warning is still not long enough to mount a "deflection" defense system to save the planet from a killer asteroid impact. Its was reported that NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) already rehearsed their action plan if in the case as asteroid will hit the planet. The new system is faster that the last but Dr. Nuth said the time is not enough yet.

"'The biggest problem, basically, is there's not a hell of a lot we can do about it at the moment," Dr. Joseph Nuth, a researcher from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said in a statement.

There is very little chance for a killer-asteroid to reach the planet in this lifetime. Based on NASA's statistics, there is only about 0.01 chance of an asteroid impact. However, there remains a small chance it will occur; this is the reason why NASA is urging everyone to be prepared. Dr. Nuth suggested that the most secure deflection system is by using a rocket that is capable of intercepting the killer-asteroid.

Reports say building rockets will take about five years. Dr. Nuth's idea is to build a rocket that can be developed in just a year. This will help lessen the time spent waiting for the rocket that might be able to intercept a massive and potentially dangerous space rocks. But to build a rocket that can be launch in about a year will need a budget approval and support of the senate.

Although the proposal is only in theory yet, experts agreed that it could be a good idea. "Cannonball technology is actually very good technology, intercepting an object at high speed actually ends up being more effective than high explosives", Dr. Cathy Plesko, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory said in a statement.

The asteroid or comet impact, if there will be any, may not occur in this lifetime but scientists say it is a problem that needs to be addressed. The NASA/FEMA asteroid path detection system is a good start to do that.

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