Can current technology save us from a possible meteor impact?

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  • Meteors, meteorites or meteorites? Let's be clear:
  • Are they rare phenomena?
  • How can technology save us from a meteorite?
  • 1- Remote interference
  • 2- Controlled impact
  • 3- Controlled explosion
  • We, simple citizens of the world, what can we do?

Have you ever wondered how we might react if something or someone could threatens our existence on earth? Our current technology could help us? We have also asked ourselves these questions and, on occasion of the anniversary of the fall of the first carefully documented meteoritewe offer this small list of possible methods to avoid an apocalypse. Good reading !

Meteors, meteorites or meteorites? Let's be clear:

Before listing the different ways of planetary “safeguarding”, let us try to quickly clarify the difference among the celestial bodies likely to have an impact on our atmosphere.

Every day, our planet is constantly hit by small fragments and remnants of the formation of the solar system. These little bodies are defined meteorites. The latter have size Like that littleSince don't be a major threat for our ecosystem. Every day, they enter the atmosphere but, thanks to friction with the air, they are “dissolved” before impacting the ground.

Much more fascinating are the meteoritesbig bodies wandering in space potentially dangerous for our planet. They can be of different sizes and most often have another small asteroid in orbit. Like Earth, they may have their own very small Moon. These types of « planets » are constantly observed by our scientists and, as long as they do not come dangerously close to our gravitational pull, they do not pose a major danger.

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The problem arises when one of these bodies, a meteorite, comes into contact with the gravitational pull of our planet And impact on our atmosphere. The intense heat caused by friction with « air » sets the meteorite on fire. Here we can talk about the rating meteor: A “foreign” body colliding with our atmosphere and heading towards the ground.

Are they rare phenomena?

This may seem like an apocalyptic scene, but it is not uncommon for many meteors to come into contact with our atmosphere and disintegrate before reaching the ground. Only the May 23, 2019a meteorite entered the Earth's atmosphere and lit up the Australian sky without causing damage. Unfortunately, not all meteors disintegrate before hitting Earth. As we all know, one of the most likely hypotheses for the largest mass extinction sees the fall of a huge meteor as the cause. It is to the latter that we attribute the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Thank goodness we have one more weapon than the dinosaurs: the technology! Over the millennia we have rolled our eyes and are able to activate a system to defend our planet.

How can technology save us from a meteorite?

Before we move on to defense, we must know our enemy. Careful observation of the cosmos by scientists makes it possible to avoid “false impacts” and to concentrate on the most probable ones. Also, study it composition of the probable impacting body helps to imagine one's own probability of being destroyed impact with the atmosphere. Scientists from all the world's space agencies are constantly working to find a monitoring of these celestial bodies. Let's find out how technology can save us from the possible impact of a meteorite and see what strategies they have come up with for our planetary defense:

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1- Remote interference

One of the most plausible hypotheses is that of interfere by gravitational attractionthe asteroid's orbit. By deviating its course from the earth to a non-dangerous point, we can breathe a sigh of relief. To date, this system is ready for use in the event of an imminent threat.

A probelarge enough to generate a gravitational field around it, it will pass close to the meteorite changing course and moving it away from Earth's gravity. Additionally, this method could also become useful for the study of the body itself. Once removed from Earth's orbit, a probe could descend to the asteroid's ground and study its composition. We remember the recent ESA mission, Rosettewhich landed on a meteorite to study its conformation.

2- Controlled impact

Another hypothesis sees as a solution a controlled impact against the asteroid. Launching a probe at an impact speed of around 11 km/s could cause a probe variation in the trajectory of the asteroid itself. This variation is due to the kinetic energy transfer from impact.

This method has also already been developed, and the 2021 will be inaugurated with the launch of the DART mission by NASA.

3- Controlled explosion

Similar to controlled impact, controlled explosion is proposed as a third method. The physical principle is the same: deviation from the trajectory by transfer of kinetic energy. But, in addition to the impact of a probe, this method makes it possible to exploit the thrust given by the explosion of ammunition. However, given the size of the asteroid, the explosion would not only have removed the body, but it this would destroy other small asteroids. In this way, impact with the atmosphere will put an end to the work started. NASA decided to do not focus on this method and develop previous methodologies.

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We, simple citizens of the world, what can we do?

Here too communication it matters in possible tragedies like these. Given the recent and incredible development of the means of communication, the news will not take long to reach all the inhabitants of the globe. This immediate distribution of news, would allow many people to enjoy and of get safe as soon as possible. In addition, our current technological means there they would make it possible to cultivate plantations in artificial greenhouses and obtain drinking water even from polluted aquifers. The impact on the ground would cause a rise in the earth's temperature, a drastic climate change due to the darkening of the sun caused by the dust cloud projected into the atmosphere. Despite this sadly apocalyptic vision, our current technology could help us survive in a hostile world.

Again, thank goodness there are no imminent threats to our planet, but when you hear about a possible collision, know that our Earth is ready to face this kind of threat. In the hope that these methods will be used as little as possible, we invite you to reflect on how our lives have been improved by advances in technology, and how our technology can save us in the event of a meteorite strike.

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