How would we deal with a Asteroid threat? Europe starts preparing

What should humankind do the next time an Asteroid threatens Earth? European officials lately used up two days guessing the probable ways to answer to such a situation, with the aim of drawing up effective measures before the danger really arrives.

The first-of-its-kind simulation considered what to do if an asteroid like to, or larger than, the one that blasted over Russia in February 2013 — which was around 62 feet (19 meters) wide — came close to Earth. Officials concentrated on activities ranging from 30 days to 1 hour before a possible encounter.

Detlef Koschny, head of near-Earth-object activities at the European Space Agency's Space Situational Awareness office, said in a statement that there are a large number of aspects to consider in forecasting the effects and destruction from any asteroid impact, making simulations such as these very complicated.

Track of the object that blasted over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.  
The 2013 Russian meteor blast, which happened above the city of Chelyabinsk, helped to bring the asteroid danger into a new realm of public consciousness. The shockwave generated by the airburst injured 1,500 people; the vast mainstream was cut by wrecks of flying glass after windows were shattered.

The European specialists performing the new simulation, which took place in late November, took a lesson from the Chelyabinsk event, defining that it would be best to caution the public to stay away from windows and stay in buildings' most safe areas — similar to the advice given during hurricanes.

Officials considered what to do if Earth were endangered by a Space rock between 39 feet and 125 feet wide (12 to 38 m) with the around 28,000 mph (45,000 km/h). ESA and associated warning agencies would need to work fast, they determined, and cooperate with civil protection authorities to give info about where and when the asteroid would possibly hit, and what outcomes would be expected.

"For example, within about three days before a possible encounter, we'd possibly have relatively good approximations of the mass, size, composition and impact position," Gerhard Drolshagen, of ESA's near-Earth-object team, said in the same statement. "All of these directly affect the type of impact effects, amount of energy to be generated and, hence, probable reactions that civil authorities could take."

This NASA image shows the orbits of all the identified Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs), which are over 1,400 as of early 2013.

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