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How NASA would warn the public if the world was about to end

How NASA would warn the public if the world was about to end

Don't worry, this is all just hypothetical... for now

NASA have plans in place should the worst happen and we end up trapped in the inescapable situation of having an asteroid hurtling towards Earth where there's nothing we can do.

Down here on Earth, we've become pretty good at detecting objects in space coming towards us, so we'd get plenty of advanced warning if something was coming at us.

The dinosaurs learned the hard way how catastrophic an asteroid strike would be for our planet so if we ever end up having that coming our way there are plans in place for how to break the news to us.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem."
Getty Stock Photo

According to Business Insider, we'd likely know it was coming and a group of astronomers around the world who work with NASA known as the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) would have plans.

First things first, check and verify humanity's doom at the hands of a giant space rock was actually happening as it'd be pretty embarrassing to declare we were all going to die and then not have it happen.

NASA would then send out an official alert, first to the government of the country the asteroid was predicted to impact and then pretty much everywhere else.

From there, the government would release a formal statement to the public and the United Nations would have to be told.

Depending on how much time there was before impact would then dictate the response.

If an asteroid was years away then we could probably deflect it and prevent it from striking Earth.

Less than five years before impact would likely require the asteroid to be destroyed instead of redirected.

Catching an asteroid just months away from striking our planet would not be ideal as there's basically nothing we could do in that situation.

Fortunately, we tend to spot asteroids decades before they could ever potentially hit us, so we get a good deal of advance warning.

Setting off nuclear bombs near an asteroid has been mooted as a possible solution.
Getty Stock Image

However, you needn't worry about this happening in the near future, we're not doing this because something awful is coming our way and it's been decided that the public needs to get used to the idea of imminent, inescapable death.

Besides, if something like an asteroid was headed our way we do have some potential ways to stop it even if it's on a collision course with Earth.

One such idea was to set off one or several nuclear bombs in space near the asteroid in the hopes that the blast would push it off course.

We'd probably need several years advance warning in that case as the further away the asteroid is when we try to divert it the less we need to do.

As of now the most effective idea to deflect an asteroid is something called 'kinetic impact', basically meaning we knock it off course by forcing a collision with an object with high mass.

We've tested this method out, it works.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Science, Space, NASA, World News