The objective of the Office of Planetary Defense is to prevent humanity from suffering the same fate as dinosaurs.
A couple of years ago, a meteorite flew over the earth’s atmosphere at 67 thousand kilometers an hour and exploded 230 kilometers from Chelyabin, Russia. It was a large meteorite, With a size of 17.9 meters and a weight close to 11,000 tons, but not the largest ever recorded.
The resulting explosion equaled the energy of 30 atomic bombs such as that of Hiroshima, according to NASA, with a shock wave that affected 7,200 houses and left about 1,500 people injured.
In January 2016, the space agency opened the Office of the Coordination of Planetary Defense to study how to detect and stop large asteroids going towards the earth. An asteroid is an inactive piece of rock in space, while a meteorite is a piece of asteroid or comet that has become a meteor when it has entered the atmosphere.
Daily, NASA astronomers and other agencies as well as amateurs scan the skies for signs of potential dangerous objects to Earth.
NASA explains that when a dangerous object is discovered, alerts are immediately issued to observers around the world, with the purpose of keeping track of this element in the darkness of space.
This NASA observation project has found about 98% of the catalog of almost 15,000 asteroids, comets and near-Earth objects, whose orbits periodically approximate them to about 48.3 million kilometers of our planet. The list grows at a rate of 1,500 per year.
All work from the discovery, tracking and potential mitigation of a dangerous object is done by a network of government agencies, public and private universities, as well as amateur and professional astronomers, under the supervision of the Office of Planetary Defense Coordination of the POT.
An example of the coordination occurred in 2015, when the object WT1190F was discovered on October 3. Within a few days, astronomers suspected that it was an artificial object and realized that it could be the perfect opportunity to try an action together. It was predicted that the object would impact Earth on November 13, on the coast of Sri Lanka.
A team of experts mobilized on a plane with cameras and spectometers and witnessed the magnificent fireball that caused the object to enter Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to analyzing the object, NASA was able to detect, track and correctly predict where the object would fall, so the mission was successful.