An asteroid large enough to completely annihilate the human race is on the horizon of space as NASA predicts a hit on its podcast. On an episode of the podcast hosted by Leslie Mullen, she talks of asteroid impacts and NASA’s potential ability to stop them before earth impact. Guest astronomer Greg Leonard said that NASA currently is not aware of any imminent danger.
However, it is the asteroids we do not see that could ultimately flatten our planet. Movies such as Armageddon show large asteroids hitting the surface of the earth and causing death and destruction on a large scale. This could actually become a reality if we do not utilize our resources to figure out ways to avoid it. The Earth may be in the middle of what is being called a ‘cosmic shooting gallery’.
Every day, asteroids fly by the planet and deliver dust grains weighing in tonnes when put together. When a space rock which was close to 10km in width hit the planet about 66 million years, two-thirds of all life was erased from existence. The nuclear winter which exterminated the dinosaurs also rose from an asteroid collision.
In 2013, a 20m wide space rock exploded above the Russian territory of Chelyabinsk Oblast. This resulted in shockwaves which shattered windows and injured 1500 people. Mullen said that small asteroids may not prove to be much danger, but large rocks can cause major damage.
According to the podcast, large asteroids are a very real possibility. As of now, none of these are heading for our planet, but not all of them have been discovered yet. As a consolation, the Earth’s atmosphere deals with the smaller ones on its own and the ones which are smaller than 25m across usually burn up before they make landfall.
The 2013 incident, though, teaches us that exceptions to the rule do exist!