When thinking about the grand scheme of things on a universal level and comparing what we find so important down here on the ground to the possible dangers that can fall upon our planet it really makes our concerns, by comparison, seem petty. If humanity on a whole is threatened concerns over, borders, politics, religious differences all fade into irrelevance when faced with an extinction level event. In writing about this I felt forced to leave my comfort zone and think about how small and insignificant our concerns are in comparison to total devastation. There is nothing like a random event like a gamma-ray burst, or collision with a large asteroid or comet to make one feel really small and vulnerable. Think about it, a rock the size of Manhattan traveling at 31,000 mph on a collision course with Earth.
Planetary Defense Conference
We can take some comfort knowing that some of the brightest minds in the world come together at the Planetary Defense Conference. This bi-annual event hosted by the International Academy of Astronautics prepares for a possible scenario that could devastate our planet. For example, threats coming in the form of a comet or asteroid on a collision course with our Earth.
NASA and FEMA
This year, NASA and FEMA will be teaming up to have a dress rehearsal for Armageddon in the form of a simulation of an asteroid impact on planet Earth. This is going to take place at the Hotel at the University of Maryland beginning Monday, April 29 and ending on Friday, May 3rd at the Planetary Defense Conference. This is where scientists discuss all sorts of ideas in the defense of the planet but this year’s event would basically be a rehearsal for what to do in the face of such a horrific event.
NASA’s website states,
“NASA experts will talk about the agency’s first mission to demonstrate a technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space and other aspects of the nation’s planetary defense program.”
The website goes on to provide a list of events at the conference that includes,
“9:20 a.m. Monday, April 29
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will deliver the conference’s keynote address. This address will stream live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 1
NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green will participate in a panel discussion about defending Earth from asteroids with Bill Nye, chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, and other leading experts. The event will stream live at:
The conference also will include a fictional asteroid impact scenario – an exercise that will give conference participants the opportunity to simulate response to a hypothetical asteroid impacting Earth. Learn more about this simulation at:
Learn more about NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, at:
Twenty years ago planetary defense wasn’t even on the radar. We can all take some comfort that today multiple organizations and agencies take this threat seriously and are actively working on solutions and gathering vast amounts of information on NEOs (Near Earth Objects) in defense of our beloved planet Earth.
More on this topic: Help Wanted: Mission To Mars