The National Aeronautics Space Administration and FEMA in 2017 devised and initiated a supposed fictitious scenario in which the two agencies would drill down on an asteroid that’s set to impact the Earth in or just off the coast of California on September 20, 2020, but is this so-called “exercise” really just a drill?
NASA claims “the simulation was designed to strengthen the collaboration between the two agencies, which have Administration direction to lead the U.S. response” but could the drill actually go live like so many other drills have in the past? (i.e. the July 7, 2007, London bombing, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and others)
“It’s not a matter of if–but when–we will deal with such a situation,” Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen said. “But unlike any other time in our history, we now have the ability to respond to an impact threat through continued observations, predictions, response planning and mitigation.”
The exercise was designed to create “a forum for the planetary science community to show how it would collect, analyze and share data about a hypothetical asteroid predicted to impact Earth. Emergency managers discussed how that data would be used to consider some of the unique challenges an asteroid impact would present-for preparedness, response and public warning,” according to NASA.
Representatives from NASA, FEMA, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories, the U.S. Air Force, and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services attended the initial meeting and will be participating throughout the 4 year long excersise which is set to come to a head on Sept 20, 2020.
“It is critical to exercise these kinds of low-probability but high-consequence disaster scenarios,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “By working through our emergency response plans now, we will be better prepared if and when we need to respond to such an event.”
The exercise simulates a possible impact four years from now in which, according to NASA, “a fictitious asteroid imagined to have been discovered this fall with a 2 percent probability of impact with Earth on Sept. 20, 2020. The simulated asteroid was initially estimated to be between 300 and 800 feet (100 and 250 meters) in size, with a possibility of making impact anywhere along a long swath of Earth, including a narrow band of area that crossed the entire United States.”
“In the fictitious scenario, observers continued to track the asteroid for three months using ground-based telescope observations, and the probability of impact climbed to 65 percent. Then the next observations had to wait until four months later, due to the asteroid’s position relative to the sun. Once observations could resume in May of 2017, the impact probability jumped to 100 percent. By November of 2017, it was simulated that the predicted impact would occur somewhere in a narrow band across Southern California or just off the coast in the Pacific Ocean.”NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
To make matters worse, NASA has recently listed a real asteroid (not part of the drill) as making its close approach to Earth on Sept 20. The object dubbed 2017 SL16 just so happens to have been discovered in 2017 which corolates with the drill initiation date. This raises a major red flag.
Making the scenario even more dramatic, role-players did not allow for deflection or mitigation of the earthbound asteroid and instead opted to forcefully evacuate residents from the city of Los Angeles.
“While mounting a deflection mission to move the asteroid off its collision course had been simulated in previous tabletop exercises, this particular exercise was designed so that the time to impact was too short for a deflection mission to be feasible — to pose a great future challenge to emergency managers faced with a mass evacuation of the metropolitan Los Angeles area.”NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
“Scientists from JPL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and The Aerospace Corporation presented predicted impact footprint models, population displacement estimates, information on infrastructure that would be affected, as well as other data that could realistically be known at various points throughout the exercise scenario,” NASA reports.
“The high degree of initial uncertainty coupled with the relatively long impact warning time made this scenario unique and especially challenging for emergency managers,” FEMA National Response Coordination Branch Chief Leviticus A. Lewis said. “It’s quite different from preparing for an event with a much shorter timeline, such as a hurricane.”
As a caveat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated back in March that we are in a “live exercise,” potentially letting the cat out of the bag.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a slip of the tongue while addressing the American people from the White House when he stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.
“This is not about retribution,” Pompeo explained. “This matter is going forward — we are in a live exercise here to get this right.”
With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: “You should have let us know.”
Military Exercise meaning (from Wikipedia): “A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base.”
The question we must now ask is: will the drill go live?
Related video: They Said it Will Hit on Sunday, September 20, 2020
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