EXERCISE: 2019 IAA Planetary Defence Conference - Day 5 Scenario


The scenario was chosen to stress the partcipants, not an actual asteroid impact. It was a fictional scenario. This was only an exercise.

60 meter asteroid impact in New York City, NY (roughly Central Park, NYC)

10,117,016 population directly affected

Estimated unsurvivable area (complete destruction) 32 square miles

Internet Communications

30 Internet exchange points (1 unsurvivable, 8 critical damage, 20 severe damage, 1 serious damage)

708 Data centers (16 unsurvivable, 229 crtical damage, 446 severe damage, 16 serious:

6,300 Points of presence (1853 unsurvivable, 453 critical damage, 1447 severe damage, 456 serious damage)

Indirect Internet impacts

Mass communications

Social media, misinformation and malinformation


excellent! (but i was hoping this would be a swamp-draining-by-vaporization exercise.)

i particularly liked this animation. https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/pd/cs/pdc19/Day5-MegaFire.mov

Yes, they kept moving the impact site around all week (both Denver and
West Africa were mentioned at times). Some people wiser than I guessed
Central Park early on, but I thought that was too obvious. Good thing
I didn't make a bet on it.

Marshall Eubanks

pfft, asteroid impacts and alien mothership crashes are bound to happen in Central Park. Everyone knows that!


manifestly untrue


The next Planetary Defence Conference in 2021 will be hosted in Europe. That means a major city on the European continent will likely be destroyed in the next asteroid exercise :slight_smile:

2015 exercise - fictional impact Dhaka, Bangladesh
2017 exercise - no fictional impact Tokyo, Japan (asteroid deflected)
2019 exercise - fictional impact New York City, NY

Which iconic places in Europe to plot the 2021 PDC asteroid path?

Of course, any fictional scenario is more likely to hit an ocean or miss the planet. But that makes for a dull exercise.

Of course, any fictional scenario is more likely to hit an ocean or miss
the planet. But that makes for a dull exercise.

For any hit, a lot depends on impactor size. With an impactor of the size that took out the non-avian dinosaurs…the site of impact probably won’t matter to us if humanity is unable to deflect it.

See the RadioLab Dinopocalypse Redux from a few days ago for more on the model.


I understand the intent. Earth is still a single point of failure.

For disaster exercise planning purposes, extinction level events don't make for very interesting game-play. The disaster game-play is over by Monday afternoon, and the rest of the exercise week is a bust. The white team is forced to roll-back time and raise civilization from the ashes to continue with rest of the week. That's why extinction level events are generally used only in disaster planning study papers, not exercises.

Many exercise designers could use help coming up with useful Internet disaster sub-plots. Bad enough to inject stress into the exercise, but not extinction.

All ISP tech support agents are infected, and become brain eating zombies.

the matador...the matador... the matador!

So what happened? Where’s the post-game? You guys had 8 years to stop the thing. Why is there a big hole in Manhattan? And with 10 days warning at the very end, why did any critical Internet operations remain active in NYC?


Did anyone trying calling Bruce Willis?

An ocean impact needn’t be boring. It would potentially create megatsunamis over a possibly wide area on multiple coasts. Even cities away from coasts but on rivers could be affected.

A large ocean impactor could even damage undersea cables.

To sum it all up... if and when ... I doubt we will worry about the internet.

Food, Water, shelter and ammunition’s || that’s all else if anyone could possibly make it through.


We call that "Tuesday".


p.s. On a more serious note, disaster exercises that include partial
failures of emergency response infrastructure are often quite challenging.
As I write this, the IT infrastructure of Baltimore is down due to
a ransomware attack. As a consequence, while 911 is functional,
fire department computers are down. If a significant event requiring
BCFD happened tonight, it would be challenging for them to coordinate
a large-scale response.