72% Chance That Asteriod May Hit Earth On July 12, 2038

Rohit Kulkarni

Rohit Kulkarni

Jun 28, 2024

A potentially hazardous asteroid has been identified by the US space agency NASA and as per them, there is a 72% chance of it hitting the Earth. Notably, NASA highlighted that we are not adequately prepared to prevent it.

72% Chance That Asteriod May Hit Earth On July 12, 2038

72% Chance of Doomsday?

As per the agency, the fifth biennial Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise was conducted in April and on June 20, NASA unveiled the summary of the exercise, held at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

The tabletop exercise, apart from NASA, included nearly 100 representatives from various US government agencies and international collaborators.

Though there are no known significant asteroid threats in the foreseeable future, this was done to assess the Earth’s ability to respond effectively to the threat of a potentially hazardous asteroid.

As per the agency, valuable insights about the risks, response options, and opportunities for collaboration posed by varying scenarios were provided by the hypothetical exercise.

Lindley Johnson, planetary defence officer emeritus at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said that, “The uncertainties in these initial conditions for the exercise allowed participants to consider a particularly challenging set of circumstances. A large asteroid impact is potentially the only natural disaster humanity has the technology to predict years in advance and take action to prevent.”

As per the Tabletop exercise summary: “During the exercise, participants considered potential national and global responses to a hypothetical scenario in which a never-before-detected asteroid was identified that had, according to initial calculations, a 72% chance of hitting Earth in approximately 14 years.” It added that “72% chance of Earth impact on 12 July 2038 (14.25 years warning time).”

Despite of this, NASA said that this preliminary observation is not sufficient to precisely determine the asteroid’s size, composition, and long-term trajectory.

NASA Exercise Identifies Gaps, Paves Way for NEO Surveyor Launch

The summary while highlighting the key gaps with our Earth, said that “Decision-making processes and risk tolerance not understood. Limited readiness to quickly implement needed space missions. Timely global coordination of messaging needs attention. Asteroid-impact disaster management plans are not defined.”

As per them, it was the first exercise to use data from NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission. DART is the first in-space demonstration of a technology for defending the planet against potential asteroid impacts.

NASA said that it was also confirmed by DART that a kinetic impactor could change the trajectory of an asteroid.

As per the reports, NASA is developing NEO Surveyor (Near-Earth Object Surveyor) as a response to understand how much time Earth has to respond to the potentially hazardous asteroid.

NEO Surveyor is an infrared space telescope. It is designed specifically to expedite humanity’s ability to discover most of the potentially hazardous near-Earth objects many years before they could become an impact threat. NASA’s NEO Surveyor will be launched in June 2028.

Rohit Kulkarni
Rohit Kulkarni
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