Does the vast mystery of space freak you out a little? If you think too much about the deep void of space and how small you are in comparison, it can get downright intimidating. But space is also scary when you think about all the astroids that could potentially be hurling towards our earth — we’re basically sitting ducks if one flies our way.
But fortunately, computers can help humans survive a deadly asteroid impact. An algorithm called the “deflector selector” was designed by scientists to advise humankind on how to protect the earth — specifically by deflecting deadly asteroids when an impact is imminent. The team at Carnegie Institute for Science started testing simulations of asteroid deflection, using machine learning, to compensate for different shapes and sizes a potential threat could be.
They found that nuclear weapons could stop half of them, kinetic impactors could also repel asteroids, as well as gravity tractors, leaving humanity’s chance of at around 50%. The findings are meant to help inform spending choices so we can budget research on the most helpful technology to repel a deadly impact. And, if you’re a glass half full kind of a person, you can thank AI for a better chance of survival.