Asteroid hitting Earth 2022: Asteroid 2009 JF1 won't collide with Earth on May 6
What would you do if a massive asteroid was coming our way? We've all likely enacted disaster movie scenarios in our heads. The reports came over the weekend with news that NASA had estimated a space rock the size of the Great Pyramid was "likely" to hit Earth on May 6. How and why did the alarm bells start to ring when it came to this particular asteroid? The answer shows just how impressive the world's asteroid detection systems are, at the same time highlighting the fact that we would currently be defenseless if a massive asteroid were to come our way.
Until recently, asteroid 2009 JF1 was on the European Space Agency Near-Earth Objects Coordination Center's notable risk list, as it was thought to have a 1 in 4,000 chance of hitting Earth during a close approach in May. Part of the reason behind 2009 JF1's re-evaluation is that researchers lost sight of the space rock soon after it was first discovered in 2009, meaning they weren't able to get as much data as they wanted on its orbital trajectory, though they knew it would come close to Earth. In a statement in February, ESA said 2019 JF1 had been "relegated [down the list] together with other more routine objects that pose minimal threat. The new data suggests that there is now a 1 in 1,700,000 chance that 2019 JF1 will hit Earth.
While newsreaders worldwide can breathe a collective sigh of relief, the news does highlight the current lack of technology for deflecting a large asteroid on a collision course with Earth. Still, we can take comfort in the fact that the probability of a civilization-ending asteroid hitting Earth is almost negligible at 0. Our current technology may not be advanced enough to avert disaster, but the current rate of innovation suggests we will soon be much better served than the dinosaurs when it comes to self-preservation.
Read full article at Interesting Engineering