The simulation ended in hypothetical disaster. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Ingfbruno
Space experts from several agencies failed to stop an asteroid fragment from wiping out New York City last week.
The exercise, which served as a trial run for a potentially cataclysmic asteroid impact scenario, centered around a theoretical space rock that was on a collision course with the Earth.
The simulation was conducted over the course of five days but involved a timeline of eight years.
Within the context of this hypothetical scenario, NASA attempted to deflect the space rock by slamming three probes in to it, causing a large 60-meter fragment to break off.
Although the main body of the asteroid went on to miss Earth, the fragment remained on a collision course and ultimately exploded over Manhattan, flattening everything within a 15-kilometer radius.
For the simulation, experts made theoretical preparations for everything from evacuating the entire city to protecting any nearby nuclear facilities from damage.
They also looked at how citizens might act in the event of such a scenario.
"If you knew your home was going to be destroyed six months from now, and that you weren't going back again, would you keep paying your mortgage?" said NASA's Victoria Andrews.
Ultimately, however the most important thing is to know that something is coming well in advance.
"The first step in protecting our planet is knowing what's out there," said ESA's Rudiger Jehn.
"Only then, with enough warning, can we take the steps needed to prevent an asteroid strike altogether, or to minimise the damage it does on the ground."
Source: Science Alert | Comments (12)