MIT system predicts the best way to divert a terrestrial asteroid

After tomorrow's approach, the asteroid's next near-Earth intersection is expected to occur on August 15, 2108. As indicated by the experts, this space rock will fly past Earth on February 21 from a distance of 0.03512 cosmic units, which is similar to 3.3 million miles.

The second best option was a "kinetic impactor", which is a "spacecraft, rocket, or other projectile that, if aimed at just the right direction, with adequate speed, should collide with the asteroid, transfer some fraction of its momentum, and veer it off course". Bennu is even less likely to find its way into a keyhole, but we have good data on this object as it's the target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission. "I am interested in preventing the passage of the keyhole long before the impact on Earth". It's like a preemptive strike, with less mess.

The researchers created a "simulation code to identify the type of asteroid deflection mission that would have the best possibility of success, given an asteroid's set of uncertain properties", according to MIT news.

Paeks co-authors at MIT are Olivier de Weck, Jeffrey Hoffman, Richard Binzel, and David Miller. "Therefore we have to be smarter when we design missions as a function of the level of uncertainty".

Other variations involved sending a scout to first measure the asteroid to hone the specs of a projectile that would be sent up later, or sending two scouts, one to measure the asteroid and the other to push the asteroid slightly off course before a larger projectile is subsequently launched to make the asteroid miss Earth with near certainty.

They say time is the most important factor in determining which method would be best.

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Should an asteroid the size of Bennu or Apophis actually collide with Earth, "the result would be regional devastation the size of a large US state", co-author and MIT professor of planetary science Richard Binzel told CBS News on Thursday.

The plans also include whether there would be enough time to send a scouting mission to the asteroid, in order to get a more precise understanding of the object.

According to Paek, the keyhole is crucial, because once the asteroid passes through this, it will impact Earth. Between two and five years out, you're most likely to succeed with the single scout followed by a projectile fired from Earth.

CNEOS noted that this asteroid is now traveling across the Solar System at a speed of nearly 54,000 miles per hour.

If another asteroid did approach, "All we have to do is change its speed a little faster or a little slower so that when it crosses Earth's orbit, it crosses either in front of us or behind us", Dr. Lori Glaze, director of planetary science at NASA, told CBS News a year ago. Accordingly, it's in all probability greatest to be ready, and MIT researchers have developed a system that might assist decide the absolute best technique to keep away from a collision - lengthy earlier than the state of affairs turns into determined.

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