The space agency has just set up an office to deal with asteroids targeting Earth.
Doomsday is coming sooner or later, and NASA is getting ready.
The agency has set up a Planetary Defense Coordination Office aimed at defending our planet from asteroids and comets that risk slamming into Earth and ending life as we know it, according to a CNN report.
This new department will be managed by the Planetary Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and it will be tasked with detecting potentially hazardous objects — asteroids or comets that get within 7.5 million kilometers of the Earth — that are at least 100 feet in diameter.
In addition to tracking these objects, the office will be charged with trying to figure out ways to redirect them, and if all is lost and a large object is headed toward Earth, the office will coordinate with the U.S. government to plan a response.
Right now, there is no known impact threat out there, but asteroids can often come quickly and without warning. A meteor struck Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 in a dramatic event caught on camera.
Beyond the Earth and between Mars and Jupiter lies the asteroid belt, where between 1 and 2 million asteroids larger than 1 kilometer in diameters float in space. These asteroids occasionally come close to Jupiter or Mars, altering their orbit and potentially sending one of them toward Earth. Comets, meanwhile, exist beyond Neptune and tend to orbit the sun near Pluto, but they can also be pushed into orbits closer to the sun, bringing them close to us.
The new NASA office will be tasked with tracking these many objects, and potentially figuring out what to do should one head toward Earth.