Apr 27, 2019 - Science

NASA, FEMA to play out new asteroid impact scenario

This image is a close-up of an asteroid. There are a lot of craters, large and small.

Dawn framing camera (FC) image of the Asteroid Vesta. Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

Next week, NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), FEMA and other U.S. agencies will play out their strategies for a fictional — but ultimately realistic — scenario of an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Why it matters: The world’s first collision experiment with an asteroid took place earlier this month, when Japan sent a bomb down to the surface of Asteroid Ryugu. Axios found in 2018 that Americans rank monitoring Earth's climate and detecting asteroids and other objects that could hit the planet as top priorities for NASA.

The bottom line: "What NASA has learned from working with FEMA is that emergency management officials are not focused on the scientific details about the asteroid," NASA's press release on the upcoming drill reads. There have been 3 similar NASA-FEMA exercises so far, which included representatives from the State and Defense departments.

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