Resources for Teachers and Students
NASA has outlined a plan on how to defend the Earth against asteroid strikes. The plan focuses on detection, meaning telescopes and software. Asteroids have predictable orbits, so once one is spotted, scientists can quickly tell whether it will ever pose a threat and when is the best time to try to deflect it. If an asteroid is headed toward us, the agency says it could use spacecraft or even a nuclear weapon to nudge the threatening space rock into a safe orbit.
Class discussion: Do you think scientists have identified all of the asteroids that could strike the Earth? What are the difficulties in locating asteroids with telescopes? How did collisions with asteroids help create the Earth and help make life possible on this planet? How have later collisions affect life on Earth? Some scientists have said a future asteroid impact on Earth is inevitable. Do you think we can develop the technology to protect ourselves? Do you trust the NASA plan?
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