The fact that the Earth is able to sustain life is nothing short of a miracle (or God’s doing, depending on who you are). Even with our increasingly advanced space exploration technology, no other planet that we have been able to study thus far has just the right conditions to make life possible.
That’s why it’s so important that we take care of our planet and defend it. The furthest that humans have been able to travel is the moon, which isn’t far, and there’s no feasible way of us inhabiting another planet should the Earth be destroyed.
Whilst there’s a number of ways that human life could cease to exist on our pale blue dot, one of the more likely scenarios which could lead to the end of humankind is a collision with an asteroid. After all, it was an asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
But unlike the dinosaurs, we have got technology which allows us to not only detect potential threats to our planet, but predict when they will reek havoc, and NASA has a few plans of action should we face a collision with a giant intergalactic rock.
NASA might be our planet’s top space exploration society, but their plans aren’t as full proof as you’d expect them to be. They’re bizarre, and, trust me, that’s putting it lightly. If you didn’t know better, you’d assume they were plot lines from sci-fi movies!
1. A gravity tractor
If you’re in any way familiar with farming, then you’ll know that your average farm would pretty much cease to function without a good old tractor. They help farmers move things around, plough their fields, and plant their crops. But they could help us out in space too…
It turns out that NASA want to create a similar device to help keep our planet safe. Although we won’t be planting corn in space, a gravity tractor would help defend the Earth by pulling any sizeable asteroids away from our planet.
Gravity tractors would be entirely reliant on the early detection of asteroids, and unfortunately, that’s something we’ve still not got down to a tee. Just this year, NASA failed to noice a passenger aircraft-sized asteroid come extremely close to Earth.
2. Push it away
Okay, if nothing else, the concept of a gravity tractor is pretty cool, but NASA’s next plan is, well, let’s just say that I could have probably come up with a better idea, and I once got every single question wrong on a physics paper.
The plan to push an asteroid away is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s the same idea as using a gravity tractor, but it’s a lot less likely to be successful. It involves firing a rocket at the asteroid in the hope that it will change direction.
If this is the plan NASA go with, it’s probably a good idea to start work on a nuclear bunker for your family now…
The next plan might sound like something straight out a sci-fi movie, but it’s completely real. Lasers have always been associated with space exploration, and, in the future, we could be using them to save our planet from asteroids.
In this doomsday prevention plan, lasers would be used to blast an asteroid apart – hopefully breaking it up into small, harmless pieces that wouldn’t cause any damage if they entered our atmosphere. However, there’s a fatal flaw in it…
NASA hasn’t came close to building a laser with the capacity to destroy an asteroid big enough to threaten life as we know it.
4. Nuclear bomb it
On the subject of blowing things up, there’s one explosive device that’s stopped many a war for the best part of a century, and, to this day, people live in fear of us humans destroying ourselves by detonating one. It is, of course, the nuclear bomb.
Whilst there’s no doubt that a nuclear bomb would destroy an asteroid, I can’t help but wonder what kind of fall out this would have. If the asteroid was close to Earth, it would inevitably have a knock-on effect here, and we all know how dangerous nuclear bombs are.
Thankfully however, this is NASA’s last resort.
We can live in the hope that a laser powerful enough to destroy an asteroid is developed in the near future.
But it’s not just asteroids that NASA want to protect us from. They’re also determined to put a plan in place so that we take the right course of action should little green men decide to pay us a visit!
I reckon a well-stocked bunker probably the best idea should either of these events occur. You can gorge on Reese’s cups as you patiently await the asteroid to be destroyed, or, y’know, watch your favorite sci-fi movies as aliens harvest the world above you…