The Earth will be hit by a devastating asteroid capable of destroying all, or most, of life on the planet, says a group of scientists and former astronauts. What’s more, as The Daily Star reports, it is a 100 percent certainty that it’s going to happen.
This warning comes from the B612 Foundation, and lest you conclude that these guys are a group of conspiracy theorists or other whackadoodles, they’re legit. According to the group’s website, their team consists of noted astronomers, engineers, and other scientific types who know what they’re talking about.
“B612 is an organization that works towards protecting the Earth from asteroid impacts and informing and forwarding world-wide decision-making on planetary defense issues. B612 provides a non-governmental voice on the risks, options, and implications of asteroid data while advancing the technical means by which that data is acquired. We work to make interpretation of asteroid data open and accessible, and we serve as an informed source for an international community of policy makers and scientists who can best help to achieve these goals.”
The group’s proclamation is based on a combination of history (hundreds of millions of years of it) and technology. In essence, the Earth has been nearly destroyed by asteroid impacts too many times to count, and at least once, it (the K-T event) came this close to wiping out all of life on Earth (that event is the reason we no longer have dinosaurs).
Dinosaur killing asteroid hit earth in exactly the wrong spot https://t.co/DFPyTjbbVJ
— World and Science (@WorldAndScience) April 27, 2018
Technologically speaking, NASA and other space agencies, public and private, as well as countless backyard astronomers, have been watching the skies for decades, looking for any asteroids that may be simultaneously big enough to worry about and be on a potential collision course with Earth. NASA claims they’ve identified 90 percent of them.
There are two problems with that. First of all, identifying them is one thing, doing something about them is another entirely. Second, the 10 percent that hasn’t been identified still leaves potentially several million Doomsday asteroids floating around in space. That’s too many, says B612 foundation president Danica Remy.
“The telescopes’ field of view is very small and the sky is very big.”
And if (when) one of those undetected asteroids gets past our telescopes, by the time we see it it will be too late.
“It might be picked but it’s more likely it wouldn’t and that we’d first find out about it on impact.”
So what can be done about it? Not much, really. At least, not at this time. Currently, the Earth’s collective asteroid-avoidance strategy consists of “hope it doesn’t happen.” But NASA and other space agencies are drawing up plans to address the problem… someday. Right now those plans are just that – plans. Nothing firm is in place.
The B612 Foundation, for its part, believes that the best way to neutralize a deadly asteroid is a “gravity tractor.” In essence, it’s a spacecraft that would use gravity to tug the space rock into another, less-dangerous orbit.
For what it’s worth, the last extinction-level asteroid to hit Earth did so 35 million years ago, according to National Geographic. Homo Sapiens didn’t evolve until 200,000 years ago. What’s more, by the time another Doomsday asteroid hits Earth, we, as a species, may have evolved into an unrecognizable form, or gone extinct some other way, or simply left the Earth to colonize space. Long story short, we may not even be around to see the next one (and that’s probably a good thing).