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After recent close calls, space agencies meet to discuss asteroid defense

NASA has issued a warning that this Saturday, an asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building will be passing close to the Earth at over 14,000 miles per hour. After recent close calls, space agencies meet to discuss asteroid defense

While this “close approach” estimated by NASA is about 3.3 million miles away, NASA policy dictates that any fast-moving space object within 4.65 million miles of Earth is to be considered “potentially hazardous.”

This asteroid has been creatively named Qw7, and is one of 878 asteroids currently at risk of hitting Earth in the next 100 years, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). 

The agency warns that an impact by even a small asteroid could result in “serious devastation,” which is why the ESA and several other groups have joined together to search for asteroids. 

These teams are also developing technology that could be used to deflect asteroids, and they will be meeting to discuss potential deflection tactics in Europe over the next few days.

The first meeting will take place in Rome, where experts will discuss NASA’s plans to crash its DART spacecraft into a 160-meter asteroid named Didymos-B. Experts will also meet in Munich to discuss asteroid 2006 QV89, which had already whizzed by Earth on September 9th.

ESA also plans to host an emergency response workshop in Germany alongside civil protection agencies from six countries, as well as the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. 

The agency adds, “These three meetings illustrate the breadth of activity currently taking place across the globe to mitigate the risk of an asteroid impact, to ensure early warnings of such a threat, and to prepare on Earth in the unlikely event of a strike – planetary defense is heating up!”

By Connor Ertz, Staff Writer

Image Credit: Shutterstock/muratart

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