Last week, Richard Binzel, EAPS Professor of Planetary Sciences and Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow, along with other astronomers, academics and disaster experts held their weeklong biennial Planetary Defense Conference, where they explored the potential damage a 200-foot wide astroid could have on New York City and, as Jason Davis reports for NBC News, "how the authorities might react to news that a killer asteroid was headed our way — and to what extent space missions and evacuation plans might mitigate the damage.
Binzel developed the Torino Scale, a method for categorizing the impact hazard associated with near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and comets, his ongoing telescopic research includes the spectral characterization of asteroids posing a potential hazard to Earth as well as those that may be most easily reachable by future robotic and human missions.
"I think the exercise illustrated how time is the most valuable asset when it comes to asteroid hazards," said Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a participant in the simulation. "In reality, having many decades of warning gives us multiple options and multiple tries to prevent catastrophe."
Learn more about the threats Earth faces from asteroids, an upcoming mission to redirect them, and what lessons the conference attendees learned on NBC News.
Story Image: New York City (Credit: Unsplash, Public Domain Dedication, CC0)
Photo Credit: Disease Biophysics Group, Harvard University