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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

NASA Prepares for Killer Asteroid: The Threat of Asteroids and What It Means for Virginians

Phot credit: Daily Espress

Written by: Sam Orlando

Asteroids have long been a source of fascination and fear for humans, and that has led NASA to spend time and money researching how humans might prevent an asteroid related global tragedy. The planet has been hit before, and that’s precisely the reason humans, and not dinosaurs, sit atop the planet’s food chain. On October 12, 2022, NASA confirmed that they have successfully tested a diversion technique designed to affect a potentially dangerous asteroid’s trajectory.

While the plan has been energized by the agency’s 2022 DART mission, questions remain about just what humanity would do if our efforts didn’t work.NASA's plan to stop an apocalyptic asteroid tragedy involves sending a spacecraft to collide with an asteroid, thus altering its trajectory away from Earth. However, the mission relies on a number of factors, including accurate tracking of the asteroid's path and the ability to accurately hit the asteroid with the spacecraft."If we don't get hit in the next 100 years, we're lucky," says NASA scientist Lindley Johnson, "But on the other hand, the odds are not that high that we will."

For residents of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the potential impact of an asteroid could be devastating. While the likelihood of a direct impact is extremely remote, the effects of an impact on the planet's climate and ecosystem could cause severe affects. Virginia’s Capitol, Northern, and Tidewater regions would have to worry about potential flooding from tidal affects which could cause tsunamis.

According to NASA, an asteroid impact could cause "mega-tsunamis, regional or global wildfires, and widespread cooling and darkening of the atmosphere." The resulting devastation could last for years or even decades, affecting everything from agriculture to infrastructure to the survival of species.

So what can Virginians do to prepare for a potential asteroid impact? Experts recommend developing emergency plans, stocking up on food and supplies, and staying informed about potential threats. And maybe it wouldn’t hurt to remind your elected representatives that it takes funding to turn NASA’s plan for planetary defense into a functioning reality that the people of America and the entire planet can rely upon.

While the odds of an asteroid impact may be relatively low, it's always better to be prepared for the worst. As NASA scientist Lindley Johnson notes, "It's something we need to be aware of, because if we do nothing, eventually our luck will run out."

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