Tuesday, 19 November 2019 | 07:27 WIB

NASA Warns of Giant Asteroids That Can Hit Earth in the Future

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine (independent)

WASHINGTON DC, NETRALNEWS.COM - The head of NASA has warned that large asteroids could hit Earth in our lifetime. NASA also calls for global studies of the threat of asteroids to planet Earth.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine believes that the prospect of killer asteroids colliding with Earth is not something that is reserved for science fiction films. Bridenstine assesses the US must strengthen its defense against meteor events.

This proposal came when NASA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other parties will conduct defense exercises at the conference that simulate what would happen if the asteroid headed for Earth.

"We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood, it's not about film. This is about finally protecting the only planet that we know, at this time, to accommodate life and that is planet Earth, "Bridenstine said at the conference, as quoted from the Daily Mail.

He cited the case in Chelyabinsk as evidence of the increasing seriousness and potential for this event. The meteor, which blazed across the southern Ural mountains in February 2013, was the biggest fall of the meteor recorded in more than a century, after the Tunguska incident in 1908.

In that case, more than 1,600 people were injured by the shock wave from the explosion, estimated to be as strong as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs. While such events are expected to occur once every 60 years, Bridenstine says they have happened three times in the past 100 years.

Bridenstine said planetary defense is as important as other NASA goals, such as landing humans on the moon. He added that NASA was working to detect and track 90 percent of the closest asteroids measuring 459 feet or larger, which could cause fatal damage during a collision.

Part of NASA's efforts to defend Earth against asteroids include the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is scheduled to take off in June 2021 and includes help from Elon Musk's SpaceX.

The innovative mission will be the first attempt shown to deliberately divert asteroids through high speed. After being launched from the Vandenberg California Air Force base on a Falcon 9 rocket in 2021, the DART aircraft is expected to reach the Didymos object in October 2022, when it is 6.8 million miles (11m km) from Earth. DART will target the binary Didymos asteroid near Earth, which is about 2,600 feet (800m).