Asteroids

Asteroids

Read a scientific article about asteroids to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Preparation

Reading text

A

In 2010, the planetary defence team at NASA had identified and logged 90 per cent of the asteroids near Earth measuring 1km wide. These 'near-Earth objects', or NEOs, are the size of mountains and include anything within 50 million kilometres of Earth's orbit. With an estimated 50 left to log, NASA says none of the 887 it knows about are a significant danger to the planet.

B

Now NASA is working towards logging some of the smaller asteroids, those measuring 140 metres wide or more. Of the 25,000 estimated asteroids of this size, so far about 8,000 have been logged, leaving 17,000 unaccounted for. Considering that a 19-metre asteroid that exploded above the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013 injured 1,200 people, these middle-sized asteroids would be a serious danger if they enter Earth's orbit.

C

Whether NASA can find the remaining middle-sized NEOs depends on getting the money to build NEOCam, a 0.5-metre space telescope which would use infrared light to locate asteroids. If it did get the money, it could probably achieve its goal in ten years. Once logged, the planetary defence team would still need to work out how to defend the planet against being hit by the truly worrying asteroids – the PHAs.

D

'Potentially Hazardous Asteroids' are rocks close enough to pass within 7.5 million kilometres of Earth's orbit. NASA has created a map of 1,400 PHAs, none of which are expected to be a threat in the next one hundred years. With technology already available, NASA can track these objects and make predictions about possible impact, at which point two defence solutions could be launched.

E

The first is DART – the Double Asteroid Redirection Test. Plans are scheduled to test DART on the moon of an asteroid called Didymos. 'Didymoon' is 150 metres wide, orbiting its 800-metre mother, and hopefully the impact of DART will knock it out of its orbit enough for Earth-based telescopes to pick up.

F

Another suggested defence against a PHA on course to hit Earth is to blow it up using a nuclear weapon. It may sound like a plot from a film, and it was the subject of the 1998 film Armageddon, but the Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response (HAMMER) is a genuine NASA proposal. The eight-ton rockets would be fired at an approaching asteroid with the hope of bumping it off course. If the asteroid was too close to Earth for this plan to work, the rockets would carry nuclear bombs to blow it up instead.

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Discussion

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Submitted by om mariam on Thu, 28/11/2019 - 18:28

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If I heard such news I will fellow the news from NASA which will give instructors like how to deal with the situation and if there are safe places to go to, the limit of steroid destruction . I think this information will reduce the feeling of panic and help people to manage the situation in proper way.

Submitted by Younes86 on Fri, 15/11/2019 - 14:40

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First thing to answer this question is to identify my region if it a region that exposed to asteroids dangerous or not, if yes I will obviously foster and work with any efficient efforts that will reduce the asteroids hazardous and save my life and my childrens, the second part of my answer that if my region is not, then I think I will be less active to work to limited the hazardous of the asteroids, sorry for that but that's the humans facts.

Submitted by Sarah-njzh on Fri, 24/05/2019 - 05:54

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when I hear an asteroid near the earth I would be panicked as most of people. but then I'll think about something to escape if it's possible. the important thing is to do what I want and to be a better man.
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Submitted by AL-Mustafa on Tue, 26/03/2019 - 07:38

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If i'm within the impacted area i will leave it as fast as i can , if am not , i will think about possible evacuation plans

If the asteroid is big enough, even if the hit would be very small it can remove all of life on the earth because of smoke, shockwave and other stuff.

Submitted by wnyahoda on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 17:44

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Considering the history of people injured in Russian, I will surely be frightened by the news. It would also be of great imlortance to gather more about the asteroid. The information will help me know what course of action to take. Either find a bunker and lock myself and family in or make a run for it.

Submitted by FamousBlondie on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 11:01

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I would be scared and I would try to inform myself better.

Submitted by sarah on Mon, 04/03/2019 - 21:57

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If the asteroid measures 1km wide, it want pose danger according to NASA. But if is hazardous one i will be scared and there is no where to ran to.