Asteroid impacts on Earth are far more common and far more dangerous than previously believed a former NASA scientist claims and he’s surprised that an Armageddon-style impact hasn’t hit anywhere populated in the last few years. The B612 Foundation, which is dedicated to thwarting the next deep impact, announced on their website that on Tuesday they will present data from a nuclear-weapons test warning satellite that proves asteroids have struck the planet far more than what records indicated.
Data obtained from a nuclear missile detection system that can locate large blasts that happen on the planet shows that 26 asteroids impacted with the force of a nuclear explosion since 2001, and that has a lot of people worried.
“This data shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare, but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought,” Ed Lu, an astronaut participating on the project, spoke in a statement. “The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”
The good news is that scientists are on top of things and preventing asteroid impact is one of their main projects. Back in March NASA made public a contest which challenged scientists to develop asteroid-detecting algorithms. This was in response to the horrifying asteroid explosion over Russia a year ago. They hope this will help the Near-Earth Object Program Office detect potentially dangerous comets and asteroids.
Former astronauts Tom Jones and Bill Anders have also joined up with Lu in an attempt to develop a better asteroid early warning system which they have named the Sentinel Infrared Space Telescope. It is their hopes that it will become “the principal means by which nearly all asteroid discoveries will be made.” Lu, in an interview with Wired, explained that the telescope works by scanning the sky in the infrared spectrum, allowing it to calculate the trajectory and velocity of asteroids.
If you wish to learn more on B612 and its goal to protect us from asteroid bombardment, you can read Phil Plait’s story here.
— B612 Foundation (@B612foundation) April 16, 2014
Explaining to a reporter today that a 100 megaton asteroid impact would do a lot more than just destroy a city!
— Ed Lu (@astroEdLu) April 17, 2014