An asteroid specialist has warned there is a ‘100 percent’ chance of the Earth being hit by an asteroid if humanity doesn’t act now.
The dire warning was given by Professor Greg Leonard from the University of Otago in New Zealand, in a new book called End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World.
In it, Leonard and science writer Bryan Walsh warn that, if humanity doesn’t take preventative action soon, the Earth will eventually be hit by an asteroid.
Prof. Leonard said, via the Mirror:
If we do nothing, sooner or later, there’s a one hundred percent chance that one will get us.
In 2015, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) teamed up to create the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA), as per Science Direct, which will test the ‘ability to perform a spacecraft impact on a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid’ as well as ‘to measure and characterize the deflection caused by the impact’.
Basically, the space agencies are looking to see if they can break up or deflect asteroids by firing spacecrafts at them. I’m going to suggest the writers of Deep Impact should possibly claim some credit for this idea…
The ‘deflection experiment’ is due to take place in October 2022, targeting an asteroid called 65803 Didymos, which was discovered in 1996 and is classed as a ‘potentially hazardous asteroid’ and ‘near-Earth object’.
Despite the AIDA plans, NASA says there are no asteroids or meteorites currently on a collision course with Earth.
The space agency said:
NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small.
In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.
According to NASA, in order to better calculate the chances of being hit by a meteorite, astronomers needs to detect as many near-Earth objects as possible.
It’s likely that we could identify a threatening near-Earth object large enough to potentially cause catastrophic changes in the Earth’s environment, and most astronomers believe that a systematic approach to studying asteroids and comets that pass close to the Earth makes good sense.
The space agencies believe the AIDA project will have implications for ‘planetary defense, human spaceflight, and near-Earth object science and resource utilization.’ Still, it sounds like we don’t need to go rushing to the underground bunkers just yet.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.