The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) along with its European counterparts have been studying near earth objects (NEO) for over 20 years. These include asteroids, comets and other objects that could be debris left over from an impact elsewhere in the solar system. These objects often travel at speeds of several thousand miles an hour and measure up to sizes that range anywhere from a tiny pebble to that of a city. If such an object were to hit the earth, the damage and devastation caused would be catastrophic and incalculable. It may very well wipe out all life on the planet. It is because of such a high level of threat that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NASA and a few other government agencies are gearing up to conduct an exercise that would help establish protocols in the event of an Armageddon-like event on the earth.
While the idea seems like something from a Hollywood blockbuster, the possibilities of such an impact are very real and it is definitely practical to have established protocols to manage and mitigate the disaster caused by such an event. The European Space Agency’s Space Situational Awareness and the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) would also be collaborating with the American agencies for this exercise.
Contingency plans drawn up from such simulations would go a long way in avoiding a total systemic collapse in the event of an asteroid impact.