An Asteroid Almost Hits The Earth

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Aug 1, 2019 13:09
We had very shocking news this week. An asteroid of 130m in diameter flew by the Earth without knowing its approach. The closest point was only 1/5 of the distance to the moon.

To begin with, how do we find out those asteroids approaching to the Earth? That is only by optical observation. There is no other choice. Therefore, pretty small ‘rock stars’ can’t be captured, as the reflected light is too weak to see. NASA is always searching for every asteroid over 140m in size, that is called “city killer”. If one of them hits a big city like Tokyo, the city will disappear instantly.

The astonishing fact this time is that the time when two observatories found out the asteroid was just a day before its closest approach to the Earth. Even if we knew the asteroid hit the Earth, we would have no chance to avoid it. So, what kind of measures do we have to cope with this situation, if we have enough time?

To destroy it by using nuclear bombs is not a smart way, because many of the broken pieces may hit the Earth and cause severe damages. More sophisticated plan is to launch a massive object that orbits around the target asteroid. The interaction of both gravities will change the direction of it for a long time. However, if NASA launched this to avoid an asteroid that is going to hit New York, the falling point might change to Tokyo as a result.