NASA has shown the world what could happen if an asteroid of apparently small size would crash into our planet.
The asteroid which allegedly hit Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, was thought to be approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) in diameter. Earlier studies from the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that there is evidence of the fact that non-avian dinosaurs survived about 30,000 years after the impact, and they ultimately disappeared because of the severe climate change the collision caused. However, other scientists believe the beasts went extinct in a few months after the impact.
Paleontologist Ken Lacovara said: “They died suddenly and were buried quickly. It tells us this is a moment in geological time. That’s days, weeks, maybe months.”
Even so, NASA has now revealed that a much smaller space rock can very easily cause complete chaos on Earth. According to the report, an asteroid of just a kilometer (0.6 miles) has the ability to destroy the planet immensely.
NASA said: “An individual’s chance of being killed by a meteorite is small, but the risk increases with the size of the impacting comet or asteroid, with the greatest risk associated with global catastrophes resulting from impacts of objects larger than 1 kilometer.”
There is no Risk of Being Hit… Yet
The space agency continues reassuring scared minds, stating it is not predicting a destructive asteroid impact of that size for at least a few centuries from now.
“NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small. In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years,” space eggheads said.
The American space agency boasts great breakthroughs in finding near-Earth objects that are more than one kilometer in size, with 90 percent now under observations. However, there is still 10 percent of hazardous asteroids that have not been detected yet. Even though the possibility of a massive space rock to hit Earth is little, NASA suggests there is a one-in-300,000 chance every year that an asteroid that could cause local damage will crash; therefore, the destructive possibility is pretty much conceivable.
This is the reason why there are now projects in the make which could help protect Earth from space rocks. NASA is at the moment observing the asteroid Bennu, using its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft.
The probe is collecting data about the asteroid, which is 500 meters (1640 feet) in diameter. The mission will gather crucial information on how to divert space rocks from their trajectory that approaches Earth at a very close distance.