It’s one thing to talk about the possibility of an asteroid striking Earth and what humanity could do about it. It’s a very different thing to see an angry red slash crossing a huge swath of the planet from Hawaii, over the continental United States and through Africa, marking where a large, albeit hypothetical, asteroid could fall.
That’s precisely what confronted a roomful of asteroid scientists, planetary-defense experts, decision makers and emergency management personnel at the International Academy of Astronautics‘ Planetary Defense Conference, held in College Park, Maryland, last week.
„It was really an interesting and fun opportunity to participate in the simulation exercise,“ Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division, told Space.com. „I said it was fun because it was great to see so many people really thinking through all the various angles of how we would, as a society, an international human society, how we would try to deal with a potential threat to the planet.“