According to the warnings given by a NASA scientist, our planet could experience an “extinction-level” event like an unexpected asteroid or comet strike. The most discouraging aspect of the gloomy news is that humans are not properly equipped for such a disaster. Award-winning scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Joseph Nuth, informed attendees at the annual American Geophysical Union convention that though such an event has a rare chance of occurring, policymakers should start preparing for the possibility.
“But on the other hand, they are the extinction-level events, things like dinosaur killers, they’re 50 to 60 million years apart, essentially,” Dr. Joseph Nuth stated. “You could say, of course, we’re due, but it’s a random course at this point.”
Nuth revealed that our planet has had “close encounters” in the past, with a comet flying into Jupiter in 1996 and a comet passing “within cosmic spitting distance of Mars” in 2014. Nuth used the latter to exemplify his concern, stating that the comet was only discovered 22 months before the near incident, which wouldn’t be enough time in the case of our planet.
“If you look at the schedule for high-reliability spacecraft and launching them, it takes five years to launch a spacecraft,” Dr. Joseph Nuth said. “We had 22 months of total warning.” With NASA recently establishing a planetary defense office, Nuth has suggested a possible solution of building an interceptor rocket and an observer spacecraft.
With periodic testing, Nuth says that it would be possible to cut the initial five-year schedule in half but said that to get down to 22 months would be “basically a hail-mary pass.” In a statement to The Post, NASA officials said that they place a high priority on finding hazardous asteroids and comets in advance, stating that nothing of such concern has been detected for the next century.
“To date, approximately 95 percent of potentially hazardous asteroids and comets larger than 1 kilometer in size that could pose a danger to Earth have been found,” the statement reads. “Additionally, there are no detected impact threats for the next 100 years.”