June 30, considered World Asteroid Day, commemorated the catastrophic Tunguska impact of 1908 when an air blast from an asteroid destroyed 2,200 square kilometres of forest land and 80 million trees in Tunguska located in Siberia, Russia.

Now, in the latest news, Apophis, a near-Earth asteroid is expected to fly by the Earth’s orbit on April 13, 2029, and in 2036.

Considered to be among the most hazardous with a diameter of 370 meters, this is being seen as something concerning since an asteroid 10 km or bigger is taken as an extinction-scale event.

The impact of such a big asteroid experts believe could cause a species to perish and something that is rumoured to have caused the extinction of dinosaurs. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief has also commented on this and why taking measures to protect Earth from asteroids is important.

What Did The ISRO Chief Say?

ISRO chief S Somanath recently speaking at ISRO’s first workshop on planetary defence in Bengaluru brought up the topic of protecting Earth from potential asteroid impacts and how international cooperation for that is needed.

According to reports, Somnath said, “Our lifespan is 70-80 years and we don’t see such catastrophe in our lifetime, so we take it for granted that these are not likely.

If you look at the history of the world and universe, these events are frequent…approach of an asteroid towards planets and its impact. I have watched an asteroid hitting Jupiter, Shoemaker-Levy hitting. If such an event happens on Earth, we all are extinct.”

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He further added, “These are real possibilities. We must prepare ourselves. We don’t want it to happen to Mother Earth. We want humanity and all life forms to live here. But we can’t stop it. We have to find alternatives to it.

So, we have a method by which we can deflect it. We can detect near-Earth approach and take it away and sometimes it might be impossible also. So, technology needs to be developed, prediction capabilities, ability to send heavier props up there to deflect it, observation improvement and joint working with other nations for a protocol.”

The workshop was held on World Asteroid Day and saw experts from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) and what international organisations like IAWN (International Asteroid Warning Network) and SMPAG (Space Mission Planning Advisory Group) do when it comes to asteroid impact threats.

The ISRO chief also commented on how the organisation plans on focusing more toward planetary defence saying, “It will take shape in the days to come. When the threat becomes real, humanity will get together and work on it.

As a leading space nation, we need to take responsibility. It’s not just for India alone, it’s for the whole world that we need to take the onus on us to prepare and develop technical capability, programming capability to do that and ability to work with other agencies.”

Anil Kumar, Associate Director, ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) also added that “Experiments are on to find out if an asteroid is expected to hit within a year and if we are ready to defend.”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Business Today, Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: ISRO Chief, ISRO, asteroid, asteroid earth, extinct, collision, Asteroid ISRO chief, Asteroid hitting earth ISRO 2029, Asteroid hitting earth isro chief, Asteroid hitting earth, Asteroid hitting earth nasa, isro, nasa

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