A NASA Scientist Warns That We Are Completely Unprepared For A Surprise Asteroid Or Comet Strike

On Monday, Dr. Joseph Nuth announced Earth is not prepared for the arrival of a surprise asteroid or comet. Nuth’s comments came during the annual American Geophysical Union meeting where he went on to say the planet may be overdue for an extinction-level event. Nuth knows that even if Earth detects a monstrosity hurdling towards the planet, there is very little we could do:

“The biggest problem, basically, is there’s not a hell of a lot we can do about it at the moment. But on the other hand they are the extinction-level events, things like dinosaur killers, they’re 50 to 60 million years apart, essentially. You could say, of course, we’re due, but it’s a random course at that point.”

Of course, this risk is nothing new, as Earth had close calls with rogue asteroids and comets in the past. Nuth pinpointed two examples; once in 1996 when a comet flew into Jupiter and the second time in 2014 when a comet passed “within cosmic spitting distance of Mars.” And to strike fear into more people’s minds, Nuth said the 2014 comet was discovered 22 months beforehand, which is not nearly enough time to coordinate and launch a preemptive strike, as “it takes five years to launch a spacecraft.”

Even if Nuth is signaling that the end is nigh, NASA provides a beacon of hope, as the agency has set up a planetary defense office to counter such an event. Nuth applauded their ingenuity, saying it could cut that five year period in half, but was still pessimistic (or realistic?), calling it a “hail-mary pass.”

(Via The Guardian)