NASA and partners will simulate a potentially deadly asteroid strike this week

Think that it’s only Hollywood filmmakers who speculate about what would happen if Earth was ever struck by an errant asteroid? Think again! This week, NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN), and assorted other top international agencies are bringing together their sharpest minds to help figure out how Earth would prepare for the potentially devastating worst case scenario that is an asteroid strike.

Taking place throughout this week, the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference will play out a tabletop scenario in which a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” is discovered by astronomers in the sky. With an average size that could range from 100-300 meters, the asteroid is first considered to have a 1 in 50,000 chance of colliding with Earth (in the vicinity of 0.002%), which later rises to a 1 in 100 probability of impact. The conference, which sounds like the world’s most terrifying team-building event, is intended to examine what would happen next.

This is not the first time such an event has been held. Approximately every two years, asteroid experts come together to play out similar scenarios, intended to explore the best way to proceed should such an apocalyptic end-game situation actually threaten Earth. However, 2019 represents the first year in which proceedings will be shared in real-time using social media. To follow along, you can check out the @esaoperations Twitter channel and catch updates on Facebook. (Considering how the Twitter universe freaks out whenever a new episode of Game of Thrones comes out, we don’t want to imagine what it would be like if an asteroid really was on its way to wipe out humankind!)

“These exercises have really helped us in the planetary defense community to understand what our colleagues on the disaster management side need to know,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, in a statement. “This exercise will help us develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments.”

Fortunately, as the press release stresses, “Although realistic, [this scenario] is completely fictional and does not describe an actual asteroid impact.” So don’t start building your asteroid-proof underground bunker and writing your boss a long letter revealing exactly what you think of them just yet.

Emerging Tech

The rise and reign of Starship, the world’s first robotic delivery provider

Excited about the impending delivery robot revolution? If so, you need to get familiar with Starship Technologies, the company which pioneered the whole thing. Here's what you need to know.
Health & Fitness

Forget foam. This fluid-filled helmet mimics your brain to protect your head

Fluid Inside is a protective system for designed to prevent injuries not only to the skull of an athlete but brain trauma as well using an innovative approach that is adaptable to cycling, skiing, hockey, and other sports.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (May 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Whose name should we etch on the Mars 2020 rover? NASA wants a vote

Dream of making it to Mars? NASA has opened up a new public outreach program to let people send their names to the Red Planet, as an engraving on a silicon chip launched with the Mars 2020 rover.
Emerging Tech

Watch live as SpaceX tries, for the third time, to launch 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX is having another go at launching the first 60 satellites for its ultra-ambitious Starlink internet constellation. Here's how you can tune in live to watch it all go down today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX joins internet-from-space race with launch of 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying its first batch of Starlink satellites for its ambitious internet-from-space project. The payload, SpaceX's heaviest to date, successfully deployed an hour after liftoff.
Emerging Tech

What would it take to build a Matrix-level simulation of reality?

What would it take, technologically speaking, to build a real version of the Matrix? We definitely don't have the technical abilities to do that now, but we're rapidly approaching the point that we will. In this article, MIT computer…
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Emerging Tech

This plane-pulling robo-dog makes Boston Dynamics’ Spot look scrawny

A robot dog created by researchers at Italy’s Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia showed off its impressive ability to pull a three-ton airplane down a runway. Check it out in action.
Emerging Tech

Scientists discover unexpected underwater volcano off the coast of Africa

Geologists first noticed something unusual in the Indian Ocean in November last year, when they detected a massive seismic event. Now further research has revealed that the source of the seismic activity is an enormous underwater volcano.
Emerging Tech

Jupiter’s vast magnetic field stretches over time, driven by atmospheric wind

Jupiter has the most powerful magnetic field in our Solar System, 18,000 times as strong as Earth's. Now scientists have discovered that the field changes over time, in an effect called secular variation.
Emerging Tech

Three rare exocomets spotted in orbit around a nearby star

Scientists have spotted three exocomets, or comets outside of our Solar System, in orbit around a bright young star called Beta Pictoris in the constellation of Pictor using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS).
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Tricked-out e-scooters and bike lights that lock

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Motion-sensing shrubs and robo-Venus flytraps: Inside the world of Cyborg Botany

From motion-sensing plants to a Venus Flytrap you control using a computer, Harpreet Sareen is the brains behind a weird field called Cyborg Botany. Here's why he believes it matters.