If it crashes on our planet, a space object could lead to the disappearance of a quarter of species.
Tuesday evening, unlike the script of the movie do not searchIgnoring what is happening above our heads should not lead to the total destruction of the planet. Because, coinciding with the space calendar, just under a month after the release of this dramatic comedy chronicling the approaching arrival of a “planet-killer” comet on Earth to the general indifference of the media and politicians, the 9:50 p.m. asteroid must be “grazing” blue planet.
Just “graze” because an asteroid called 1994 PC1 closer to us would be five times the distance between Earth and the Moon. Good news, when we know that this space object, with a diameter of one kilometer, can, if we touch, dig a hole 15 to 20 kilometers wide, and during the impact it produces energy equivalent to several thousand atomic bombs and threatens a quarter of the existing species, according to France Info reports.
Asteroid 1994 PC1 was discovered in 1994 by Australian astronomer Robert McNutt, although its first traces were recorded in 1974. It is currently moving at a speed of 19 km per second, or 68,400 km / h.
On his Twitter account, NASA’s asteroid monitoring mission was reassuring. “Asteroid 1994 PC1 is well documented and has been studied for decades by our experts. Rest assured, 1994 PC1 will pass our planet at a distance of 1931.212 kilometers.”
Very low statistical risk
Therefore, the passage of 1994 PC1 this evening should not signal the end of humanity. As for other asteroids, Patrick Michel, an asteroid specialist at the National Research Center, was reassured in West of France.
“Statistically, 90% of objects over a kilometer in size, which is also the threshold of catastrophe if they fall to Earth, are known, continues the specialist. To date, the scientific community has identified almost 25,000,” the scientist explained.
Specialists can anticipate trajectory scenarios over a period of 20 to 30 years. And as far as comets are concerned, the body that threatens the Earth is in it do not search Which differ from asteroids mainly by the material they are made of, and there, too, the statistical risk of impact on Earth is very weak.
The mission has already begun
But if the latter came true, the scientific community did not wait for the release do not search to go.
On November 23, NASA launched the Dart mission, which aims to project itself at 24,000 km/h against the asteroid Demorphos, in order to deflect its path. The latter is not down to Earth, but Dart intends to gauge the effectiveness of such a mission.
“For the first time, humanity will alter the motion of a natural celestial body in space,” said Tom Statler, a NASA scientist involved in the mission during a press conference.
The European Union will launch the HERA mission in 2024 to monitor the results of this first.