Don’t Look Up: Several Asteroids Are Heading Towards Earth – Dealing With Real-Life Threats to Our Planet

We are now seeing an uptick in tales warning of an impending global disaster, but don't look too closely just yet. Rather than pandemics or climate change, this worldwide calamity results from a massive asteroids' collision. Alternatively, a comet may pass by. Either way is OK. The new Netflix film "Don't Look Up," in which the Earth is threatened by a "planet kill

How concerned should we be, and what would happen if such a corpse impacted us?

Asteroids that kill tend to hit during the summer months when the media is less active. Perhaps the news of a deadly asteroid (or comet) is a welcome respite from the doom and gloom of the omicron COVID variant's propagation and the issues it has caused.

Newspapers in the United Kingdom have looked to the 16th-century astrologer Nostradamus for guidance. At the end of 2021, a few articles appeared claiming that Nostradamus had foretold that the world would end in 2022 due to a massive collision with a body from outer space. Astronomical objects that may (or, more likely, will not) approach near to the Earth in 2022 have been catalogued as a consequence of this hook.

In January alone, the Sun newspaper released a list of five asteroids on their way to the Earth.

When a publication announces that "all of the anticipated asteroids this year will pass by Earth at a large distance and is exceedingly improbable that they would impact our planet," it gives the impression that Earth is in danger. The first two asteroids on this list (2021 YQ and 2021 YX) flew past Earth on January 5 at distances of 1.3 and 2.4 million miles, respectively, and we missed them (or were missed by them).

No, neither did I, and I'm an astrophysicist. Three more asteroids, ranging in size from a vehicle to the Statue of Liberty, are expected to pass between 1 and 5 million miles from Earth in the next several days. It won't be considered a close call even if it comes within four times the Moon's distance.

Is 'Don't Look Up' plausible?

Don't Look Up is an allegory to use a "planet killer" as an analogy for climate change's worldwide effect. It's a story about governmental and corporate corruption, venality, and putting personal gain ahead of the health and wellbeing of the human race. It's also a lot of fun to see.

Assuming you don't mind spoilers, the story revolves around two scientists who find a comet that will hit Earth in six months. As Meryl Streep portrays the President of the United States, they attempt to inform her, but she is more interested in the midterm elections.

There is a satire on everything from right-wing U.S. politics to political party funding and their impact on policy (and politicians), to the growing ability of contemporary technology to gather data on people's habits and health, and how these data are used by internet corporations.

Despite this, the comet's discovery is not a satire of science: it is a factual account. That's because NASA's NEOWISE asteroid monitoring program principal investigator Amy Mainzer served as a scientific adviser to the film's development. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office, a real-life NASA department, receives the astronomers' results in the movie.

So, is the film based on a true story? The Earth has been struck by gigantic asteroids in the past that no massive dinosaurs are wandering now. In addition, every day, it is pummeled with tons of dust and meteorites from space. "Planet killer" events occur at most once every 50 million years, although they are treated considerably more seriously by world governments than they seem in the film.

New asteroids and comets are reported using a well-established system, which is how we learned about the ones travelling near Earth this month.

There are also initiatives to lessen the effects of an asteroid hitting Earth's atmosphere. Asteroid deflectors are often used to avoid a direct hit with the asteroid, as attempting to fire it down at the last minute would need too much energy. It is expected that the DART mission, a technology-testing mission, will be launched by NASA in November. This project will assist shed light on how to effectively deflect asteroids that threaten Earth.

However, the part of Don't Look Up that really gets under people's skin is the lack of preparation for the eventuality of a disaster and the subsequent failure of mitigation efforts. Here we go again with the climate change analogy. There isn't a backup plan. According to the film, an impending comet is depicted as a hoax, and the motto "Don't Look Up" denotes this.

I really enjoyed it. It's a kind of amusement. It's not, however, a hoax. We must work together as a global community.

Monica Grady wrote this piece as a professor of Planetary & Space Sciences at The Open University.

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  1. The Media Scare Mongers people unlikely to understand these asteroids are Millions of Miles away and NO REAL THREAT to EARTH. The media does this to gin up their real story line about Climate alarmism movie which is filled with the Wokest actors alive today and the most famous from Leonardo de Caprio to Meryl Streep all implying how stupid we all are to ignore an asteroid THAT IS, IN THE MOVIE going to hit Earth implying that is the same as Climate alarm ignoring the real faults in the alarmism argument. The argument is not a DEBATE because Climate alarmists Scientists who are NUTS Insane off their rockers Refuse to adhere to the traditions of Science where debate is crucial to find TRUTHS in SCIENCE. Instead the crazies of Alarm and DOOM and GLOOM Cancel and BAN all Debate and Get scientists who disagree with it, FIRED. Is that SCIENCE. Is that a search for Truth. Is that why UN IPCC reports always resort to LYING about the data and Scientist conclusions?