The three agencies will meet at the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference in May to work through a “tabletop exercise” that simulates what would happen if the world learned of an apocalyptic asteroid scenario, according to a statement from NASA.
- "A tabletop exercise of a simulated emergency commonly used in disaster management planning to help inform involved players of important aspects of a possible disaster and identify issues for accomplishing a successful response," according to a statement from NASA.
NASA, ESA and FEMA will have to respond to a realistic scenario of a near-Earth Object (NEO) named “2019 PDC” striking Earth. The fictional asteroid has a 1 in 100 chance of hitting Earth in 2028 for the experiment, according to the ESA.
The agencies will release a press release each day of the conference that will update interested parties on what is happening in real life, according to the ESA. The exercise will teach the agencies how organizations and governments would act in the face of impending doom, according to Mashable.
- "The first step in protecting our planet is knowing what’s out there," said Rüdiger Jehn, the ESA’s head of Planetary Defence. "Only then, with enough warning, can we take the steps needed to prevent an asteroid strike altogether, or minimize the damage it does on the ground."
The ESA says it will live-tweet results as well, including any serious actions taken by governments and other entities.Comment on this story
- "These exercises have really helped us in the planetary defense community to understand what our colleagues on the disaster management side need to know," said Lindley Johnson, NASA's planetary defense officer, according to Mashable. "This exercise will help us develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments."
Flashback: NASA has done this before, according to Mashable. Each NEO impact is different from the last, though, so it offers these partners a chance to act out new scenarios.
- “NASA's been running these simulations for years, and with good reason: Earth, as it happens, is in the midst of an epic asteroid surge compared to the relative peace and quiet the planet experienced many millions of years ago,” according to Science Alert.