Is Don’t Look Up realistic?

Space scientist Monica Grady from the Open University on how worried we should be about a potentially deadly asteroid in the Netflix series

Don’t look now – but we are currently going through a series of stories about an impending global disaster. But in a departure from reports on pandemics and climate change, this global catastrophe was created by the impact of a giant asteroid. Or comet. Or both. This can feel more ominous given recent events Netflix Movies Don’t look up, in which Earth is threatened by a “planetary killer” asteroid.

But how worried should we really be – and what if such a body actually crashes into us?

In my experience, killer asteroids tend to strike during the summer months, when news is scant on the ground. Perhaps we are tired of the grim news about the spread of the Omicron Covid variant and the problems associated with a killer asteroid (or comet) making a refreshing change. .

Some British newspapers turned to Nostradamus, the 16th-century astrologer. A couple wrote stories in late 2021 about how 2022 was the year Nostradamus predicted that the world would end in one Giant impact with a body from space. This hook has led to the tabulation of objects that may (or most likely won’t) come close to Earth by 2022.

My Favorites List was published by The Sun newspaper, which describes five asteroids towards Earth only in January.

The ominous headline and its accompanying image of an Earth in danger are clearly somewhat undermined by the sentences following the image, in which the paper states that “all asteroids are forecasted this year will pass by Earth a considerable distance and very unlikely. will attack our planet”. We missed (or missed) the first two asteroids on this list (2021 YQ and 2021 YX), which collided with Earth on January 5 at a distance of 1.3 million and 2.4 million miles.

No, I don’t notice them either – and I study asteroids. Three more asteroids are predicted to pass between one million and five million miles from Earth in the next few days, ranging in size from a car to the Statue of Liberty. The closest planet will still be four times further away from the Moon, so not exactly called close.

Is Don’t Look Up true to life?

Don’t look up is an allegory, using the catastrophic global impact of the “planet killer” on the catastrophic global impact of climate change. It is a story about corruption, unscrupulous and political and corporate interests that are placed above the health and welfare of humanity. It’s also very funny.

Without offering too many disruptive elements, the plot centers around two astronomers (a graduate student and her professor) who discover a comet that will collide with Earth in the near future. six month period. They try to talk to the President of the United States (played by Meryl Streep), but she is more concerned about the midterm elections.

The film pokes fun at American right-wing politics, the effect that donations to political parties have on policy (and politicians), the growing ability of modern technology to collects information about the health, habits and lifestyles and uses of that information by the tech giants.

It doesn’t tease science, though: the discovery of comets is (almost) real. It is as it should be, because Amy MainzerNasa’s principal investigator Neowise Asteroid tracking program, is the scientific advisor for the production. In the film, astronomers report their findings to Planetary Defense Coordination Office, as the movie shows, is an actual organization run by Nasa.

So is the movie realistic? Earth has been hit by large asteroids in the past – that’s why no giant dinosaurs roam the planet today. And it is bombarded every day by tons of dust and meteorites. It is certain that a “planet killer” is written in the future (although it happens at most once every 50 million years) – and this is taken much more seriously by international governments than is shown. in the film.

this is a well tested protocol to report new asteroids and comets, that’s how we know about comets that come close(ish) to Earth this month.

There are also plans minimize potential consequences from an asteroid during a collision with Earth. They often rely on deflecting the asteroid’s path, since trying to shoot it down the last minute is not feasible – it would take too much energy. The November launch of Nasa’s Darts Mission, a mission that tests the technology, will help shed light on how best to deflect asteroids that threaten Earth.

But where? Don’t look up Touching nerves is a lack of emergency preparedness if (when) it does eventually happen and mitigation plans fail. Here I return to the allegory of climate change. There is no Plan B. In the film, the tagline “Don’t look up” is a denial that an approaching comet will destroy the planet – it is portrayed as fake news.

I think it’s a great movie. It is entertainment. But it’s not fake news. We are a global community and we must act together.

Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Science, Open University.

This article was republished from Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read original article. Is Don’t Look Up realistic?

Fry Electronics Team

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