Science

Killer Asteroid 2016: NASA Takes Further Steps To Protect Earth, Creates Software To Monitor Possible Threats

By Christie Abagon , Oct 25, 2016 05:57 PM EDT
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Scout, the software created by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be allow scientist to look at asteroids closer and timelier. It can also calculate the path of dangerous asteroids before it possibly attacks Earth.

Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California said, "These are objects that observers have reported, and they suspect them to be asteroids. They are most likely asteroids, but they need to be confirmed by other observers."

Astronomers used a website by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) posts information about interesting space objects, however, they are required to constantly check the accuracy of the data especially that information are posted from different time zones and may not get updated right away.

"Some near-Earth asteroids are potentially hazardous to Earth and their properties need to be better understood in order to inform impact mitigation strategies," NASA said.

There are websites reporting that a big asteroid is coming towards Earth and is very deadly, and is said to have an impact and capacity of a nuclear bomb 3 million times. One of these websites, Metro UK, noted that a Chinese Astronomer from a space observatory in Nanjing, Zhao Haibin, spotted the killer asteroid. However, the report also said that the killer asteroid which was named 2009ES has already passed through Earth at a 18.8 lunar distance.

Scout would now check the website automatically on a ten-minute interval and would calculate the path of newly posted objects, so that when it detects a possibly dangerous asteroid, it informs astronomers by text or email.

After an asteroid is identified, Sentry, another program, would start monitoring the orbiting space rock. These automated warning systems greatly help space agencies for any possible disasters. Observers around the globe can then head to their telescopes, track the object, and post updates on MPC's page.

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