There is currently no technology on Earth that could stop a massive asteroid from destroying Europe, according to simulations conducted by leading space agencies.
The one-week exercise, led by NASA, concluded that a crash would be inevitable, even if it took six months to prepare.
The hypothetical scenario, which took place during a UN-organized planetary defense conference, proved that governments are terribly unprepared for this type of disaster.
“If we are faced with a real-life scenario, we would not be able to launch any spacecraft with such a short notice of current capabilities,” participants said.
The only response to such an event would be to evacuate the area before the asteroid̵
“Every time we participate in a scientist of this nature, we learn more about who the main players in disasters are and who needs to know what information and when,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer.
“These exercises ultimately help the planetary defense community communicate with each other and with our governments to ensure that we are all coordinated if a potential threat of future impact is identified.”
In response to the news of the failure, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the lack of a solution was “one of the many reasons we need bigger and more modern rockets.”
SpaceX recently secured a $ 2.89 billion contract with NASA to develop its next-generation Starship spacecraft, which is being built to transport people and cargo around the solar system.
>> Follow The live broadcast of the latest Starship SN15 flight test live
In combination with its super-heavy rocket booster, SpaceX claims that the Starship will be “the most powerful launch vehicle in the world ever created” and could theoretically be used to support missions designed to divert the path of an asteroid connected to Earth.
Nasa is already working on asteroid deflection technology and plans to launch its first test mission on its dual asteroid redirection system (DART) in late 2021, before reaching the asteroid Dimorphos in the fall of 2022.
The mission will try to change the orbit of the asteroid and hope to prove that such a mitigation strategy can work on dangerous nearby objects (NEOs) in the future.
“DART will be the first planetary protection test, and data returned after the impact of Dimorphos will help scientists better understand a way we can mitigate the potentially dangerous NEO discovered in the future,” said Andrea Riley, chief executive officer. of DART at Nasa.
“Although the impact of the asteroid DART does not pose a threat to Earth, it is the perfect place for us to perform this test of technology before it is needed.”
Nasa is currently tracking approximately 25,000 NEOs and new discoveries are being added at a rate of about 30 each week.