Apr 27, 2019

NASA, FEMA to play out new asteroid impact scenario

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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Go deeper: Spacecraft encounter with asteroid Bennu is test run for defending Earth

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The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."