America’s Action Plan for near-Earth Asteroids

An asteroid is a rock-like body that orbits around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The recent studies show a potential threat carried by asteroids orbiting close to Earth, of crashing into our planet. There is a need to expand research so that better measures can be taken to detect these rocky bodies. A science and technology policy being prepared by the White House office would evolve 10-year planning in the detection measures needed to protect Earth from any catastrophe.  International Cooperation becomes essential, and it can be enlarged through the National Near- Earth Object preparedness and Action Plan as this would also strengthen U.S. emergency conventions. More attention is to be given on educating and acquainting the local personnel. Training the state management personnel is dissimilar to make one familiar with the impact of an asteroid. It requires a variant methodology as people have the least knowledge of such an event.

However, it is unusual for it to happen, but NASA has discovered more than 95 percent of these near-Earth asteroids(NEOs) that are huge enough of constituting a severe worldwide threat for the people. Our past had witnessed multiple events like the one that took place hundred years ago when an object around 200 feet-broad burst over Tunguska and a 60-foot- wide meteorite exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia. As per researchers, there are chances that in future similar events will occur. A comprehensive strategy and protocol becomes important. Many asteroids meet Earth’s atmosphere, many, burns while entering the atmosphere; still, some large objects end up hitting the earth’s surface. Good news is that such a disaster can be prevented just like any other calamity or threat, so, a good policy and plan would help us during an emergency. 

NASA assures that it has listed all such NEOs, but danger remains as meteorites from the outer solar system can crash Earth in less time. The available preparedness falls petite, so, engineers have proposed three techniques- 

-- gravity tug, to nudge the asteroid with its little gravity. 

-- high-speed crash, hitting the asteroid out of its path. 

-- using a nuclear detonator.

All these flights would need warnings months or even years before for the missions to reach the target. These techniques would be helpful in protecting the Earth from the NEOs and potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), informally known as Planet Busters that can trigger a universal calamity just like the one that earlier led to the extinction of the dinosaurs some sixty-five million years ago.