How prepared is the planet for the collision with an asteroid. Why politicians don’t want to work as a team to save us

There’s an asteroid with a 72% chance of hitting Earth on July 12, 2038, that’s the scenario Nasa just tested to see how well humanity would fare if a massive space rock slammed into us.

An asteroid is approaching Earth PHOTO: Shuterstock

If you’ve watched any Hollywood movie about asteroids, you’ll know that the US takes the lead, as is the case here, writes Metro. Nasa organized its fifth inter-agency planetary defense exercise, inviting more than 100 participants, including the UN, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

According to the quoted source, faced with the challenge of an asteroid between 60 and 200 meters wide, which could hit somewhere between North America and Saudi Arabia in 14 years, the organizations had to work together to save us – or identify what what could get in the way and leave us waiting for the big impact. You might not be surprised to learn that the biggest sticking point was politics.â

Why politicians won’t be able to get together and work as a team

Even in the face of potential extinction, scientists and space leaders fear that politicians will fail to come together and work as a team to save us all. But said in a slightly more diplomatic way.

As for immediate action following the discovery of the asteroid, most senior leaders favored one of two missions to launch a spacecraft to meet the asteroid and learn more about it.

However, they feared that “political realities will limit immediate action.”

It has been noted that the US Congress, let alone other governments, friend or foe, is unlikely to act if the impact is uncertain.

One comment shared at the end of the exercise was: “I know what I would prefer (to do), but Congress will tell us to wait.”

Furthermore, while one might think that a 14-year warning before a strike would be quite comforting, this was also seen as a possible disadvantage due to changes in governments and political leadership, budget cycles and other world events.

For example, if another pandemic were to strike or if the US were to go to war, spending on planetary defense would probably drop down the pecking order.

Last September, Nasa’s OSIRIS-REx mission successfully returned to Earth samples from an asteroid, named Bennu.

As we speak, scientists around the world are studying this fascinating space rock that is hurtling through space some 200 million miles away.

However, it could also be headed our way and, in the event of a collision, would unleash the force of 22 atomic bombs. It currently has a 1 in 2,700 chance of hitting Earth on Tuesday, September 24, 2182. The odds of it colliding sometime between now and 2300 are even lower, at about 1 in 1,750.

In 2135, the asteroid will make a close approach, which scientists not yet born will use to understand Bennu’s exact trajectory and how Earth’s gravity will alter the asteroid’s trajectory—affecting its chances of hitting the planet on another orbit.

While the most expensive mission was estimated at just over $1 billion, global GDP is fast approaching $1 trillion, so it seems like a worthwhile investment — although Nasa’s scenario predicted it was more likely between 1,000 and 100,000 people to die, rather than a mass extinction.

Lack of disaster management plans

Also of major concern was the lack of any disaster management plans for survivors should an asteroid strike – so not only could politicians fail to stop the asteroid, but we could be on our own after it. hit

Aside from politics, another issue identified by the exercise included the difficulty of managing disinformation and disinformation in the digital age, which is already proving problematic in a year with dozens of elections.

Of course, the purpose of such exercises is to highlight such failures. That way, should the situation ever arise in reality, those in charge have a better idea of ​​where the problems may arise.

Nasa has already demonstrated that it is capable of deflecting an asteroid off course if necessary — even as it has inadvertently created dozens of smaller asteroids that could one day crash into Mars.

Although its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission has only been tested once, there is hope that it could be conducted again if necessary. If there is enough funding from the politicians, of course.