Space Rocks Found In Antarctica Could One Day Save The Planet

First Posted: May 11, 2016 05:39 AM EDT

Researchers have found space rocks that might be formed about 4.6 billion years ago in Antarctica. They survived the violent collisions in the asteroid belt before being rained down on Earth.

The rocks were categorized at NASA Johnson Space Center and sent to Megan Bruck Syal, the postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The rocks will be vaporized by a high-powered laser. The data they would yield on asteroid deflection could one day save the planet.

"It's not a matter of if, but when," said Bruck Syal. She is referring to the eventual certainty of a large celestial object that could impact the Earth. She further said that their challenge is to figure out how to avert the disaster before it happens, according to Phys.

Megan Bruck Syal is working with a group of researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They examine a range of potentially hazardous objects. She explores the impact processes throughout the solar system. She is also interested in the evolution of asteroids and comets and their structure to defend the Earth against potentially harmful objects.

Bruck Syal said that each comet and asteroid has its own distinctive character, which presents a challenge for envisaging how an individual target would respond to a deflection attempt. She further explained that the makeup may vary significantly from asteroid to asteroid. She added that an individual body may have an abnormal orbit or rotation, and its size would also affect which method they might use to deflect it.

Meanwhile, NASA has recognized 14,000 near-Earth objects-about 1,500 a year. They calculated the probability of impact for each. They also discovered over 1,600 potentially hazardous asteroids.

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