Will an asteroid ever hit Earth? NASA scientist offers reassuring reply – CNET

Asteroid Bennu has solely a really, very slim probability of impacting Earth.

NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

There’s nothing fairly like an alarmist headline a couple of large asteroid visiting Earth’s neighborhood in house to get the blood pumping. Add within the reputation of house catastrophe motion pictures like Armageddon, and you’ll perceive why humanity may need an obsession with house rocks. So what does a NASA scientist need to say about it?

NASA launched a brief video Wednesday with scientist Kelly Quick, an asteroid professional engaged on planetary protection, answering the urgent query, “Will an asteroid ever hit Earth?”

Quick had a fast response: “Sure, asteroids have hit Earth over the course of its historical past and it’ll occur once more.” However don’t panic, it doesn’t occur fairly often, and we’re getting higher and higher at recognizing and monitoring potential threats.

Bits of house rock and dirt are consistently bashing into our environment, giving us spectacular meteor showers to take pleasure in. Asteroids that have an effect on the Earth’s floor are a lot rarer. “They occur on time scales of a whole bunch to hundreds to tens of millions of years,” Quick mentioned.

In July, a crew of researchers from the Southwest Analysis Institute calculated the kind of asteroid that worn out the dinosaurs like strikes Earth as soon as in each 250 million years — on common. That dinosaur dying blast occurred some 66 million years in the past, so the common is fairly good for all times on Earth proper now.

That doesn’t imply scientists aren’t maintaining a detailed eye on some rocks, like asteroid Bennu. That spinning-top of a rock has a 1 in 1,750 probability of smacking Earth sooner or later. It’s nothing to lose sleep over. Actually, right here’s a useful information for when to truly concern house rocks. Spoiler: not fairly often.

NASA’s Planetary Protection Coordination Workplace identified on Twitter that there are not any recognized asteroid influence threats to Earth for the subsequent century.

Asteroids are nonetheless a priority, which is why NASA and different house companies are engaged on methods to cope with probably threatening objects. NASA is gearing as much as launch its Double Asteroid Redirection Check (DART), a planetary protection mission that’ll crash a spacecraft right into a moonlet to see if it might probably change its path. If it really works, the idea may very well be used to nudge a harmful asteroid away from our planet.

So an asteroid will come for us sometime, however hopefully we’ll have loads of warning and will even be capable to do one thing about it.

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