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NASA's Newest Alert System to Warn of Asteroid Impact Five Days in Advance

© Fotolia / VadimsadovskiMeteor glowing as it enters the Earth's atmosphere. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.
Meteor glowing as it enters the Earth's atmosphere. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. - Sputnik International
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Large asteroids are a real threat to the planet, as they have caused several extinctions throughout the history of the planet. More so, there is no guarantee that a huge asteroid isn’t flying towards Earth right now!

However, scientists are making efforts to predict asteroid strikes and to catalogue asteroids that come close to Earth.

NASA has introduced a new alert system called Scout for fight against asteroids. Scout is designed to detect asteroids approaching Earth and the exciting part is that it is able to give five days’ notice of an approaching asteroid.

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Asteroids that come close to Earth are called Near Earth Objects (NEOs) and finding them and tracking them has become a growing concern for NASA.

NASA has about 15,000 NEOs catalogued and still, “the NASA surveys are finding something like at least five asteroids every night,” NASA Jet Propulsion Lab astronomer Paul Chodas said.

“Objects can come close to the Earth shortly after discovery, sometimes one day, two days, even hours in some cases,” says JPL Davide Farnocchia. “The main goal of Scout is to speed up the confirmation process,” RT reported.

In that way, five days’ notice for a small asteroid striking Earth is a big step for preparedness.

Multiple resources can be organized, critical infrastructure can be protected and atomic power plants can be shut down if necessary. Apart from all that, most importantly people can be evacuated.

When an asteroid hit the Russian region of Chelyabinsk in 2013, no one was prepared. It was a 10,000 ton meteor that exploded over the Chelyabinsk Oblast, injuring about 1,500 people and damaging an estimated 3,000 building in six cities.

“If it had been a little bigger, and reached the surface of the Earth, the damage would have been widespread. Five days’ notice would likely have saved a lot of lives,” the publication reported.

For this reason, NASA, Roskosmos and other space agencies are actively working on the development of asteroid detection systems before it approaches Earth.

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