A space telescope NEOCAM is being developed by NASA's jet propulsion laboratory to scan the solar system.
By Onesmaus Kansiime
June 30 is commemorated as International Asteroid Day. The early years of the earth's celestial vicinity remains clothed in wonder. Unlike the planets whose physical and organic properties have been significantly altered, asteroids have more or less remained the same since the early years of solar system.
So it is wiser to study asteroids to know the original compositions of the earth in the infant solar system. Japanese will send a probe to Ryungu, an asteroid 3.26 billion miles away and bring samples to earth, as they did in 2003. Nonetheless the intention of the international asteroid day holds the dangers wrought by asteroids as kingpin.
Around 66 million years ago, a city sized space rock rushed into the Gulf of Mexico, killed 75℅ of life on earth including dinosaurs that never came back. The research of this erstwhile tragedy is hair plucking with the Cretaceous Paleogene extinction following a global fire and toxic fallout, years of photosynthesis blocking particulate pollution and nuclear winter.
Global temperatures believed to have found their higher spot on the graph by a whopping 9° Fahrenheit for 300,000 years.
The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor splashed over Siberia with remarkable repercussions. The rock of a small size are not easily detected and such sized space rocks pose a drum heartbeat worry. The 1908 Tunguska scandal, in Siberia exploded with a force equal to approximately 5-10 megatons of TNT zeroing 700 square meters of forest.
I suggest that we set our eyes in the sky and beyond. NASA (National Aeronautical Space Agency) has the asteroid protection plan. A space telescope NEOCAM is being developed by NASA's jet propulsion laboratory to scan the solar system. This will complement the large Synoptic Survey Telescope currently under construction in Chile and is set to begin operations in 2021.
The asteroid defence working group estimates 10 million near earth objects 20 meters or smaller and 300,00 larger than 40 meters that we don't know about. NASA currently lists only around 15,413 near earth objects with 1,763 to be of potential disaster.
In the Dooms day preview by the Los Alamos National Laboratory shows that an aquatic impact would cause a sizable tidal wave that could cause some sizable danger in a populated area. The salient danger from an asteroid hitting the ocean would probably be a plume of water which would be vaporised hanging up clouds in the stratosphere for months or even years. This water vapor traps heat on earth, making it a powerful greenhouse gas.
In my suggestions, I want to put across ways on how to prevent an asteroidal apocalypse: improve detection and tracking technologies which would give humanity time enough to hatch a defense plan. The problem lies in the way humans assess risks with a tough grappling of consequences of events that we haven't experienced.
The Fukushima disaster is a proper gene of my risk attitude hypothesis. Emergency plans following the collision are also necessary which involves building an international alert system which is opposed by the rivalry of space agencies. This should not be a science gala versus aeronautic escapades with a criterion of how much script science you are doing and how your agency ranks.
There is something beyond science, that is life. Trials should be conducted to test technologies that would aid in asteroid herding with propulsion, onboard artificial intelligence and monitoring systems. The OSIRIS REx mission launched in September 2016 will make contact with the Bennu in August 2018 to collect samples, a mission to test some of the necessary procedure for asteroid deflection.
Asteroids have a distinction of a sci-fi talk that will definitely happen. If history is the predictor's tool, the danger of it once or twice a century is a dire possibility. Maybe with one chance in two generations. If it has not happened in your generation, then you are naturally discounting it.
Instead of village level tornados, my biggest worry from an asteroid smash-down may be getting cooked. I urge my fellow Africans to campaign probes of asteroidal Aeronautical expedition in partnership with countries of sophisticated space genius to save its future. This is not a mere talk of war nuclear bombs since an asteroid disaster can wipe a continent and an entire race even in times of no conflict.
The promise of these probes is a come to a walk call to crawling child, though the results of the analysis usually get buried in the heads of those we call science fanatics mistaking them for fame seekers.
The writer is an economist and statistician