Acosmochemist warned that human extinction is almost guaranteed if Earth gets hit by a planet-killer asteroid.
The scientist also noted that despite NASA’s plans to protect Earth from asteroids, the chances of a major impact happening are still pretty big.
In her latest book “Catching Stardust,” cosmochemist Dr. Natalie Starkey briefly explained the true meaning of International Asteroid Day. This is an annual event that commemorates the large explosion caused by a meteor that detonated over a region in Siberia on June 30, 1908.
For Starkey, International Asteroid Day should remain as a constant reminder of what space rocks can do to the planet and its inhabitants. She also noted that the annual event serves as a warning about how a major asteroid impact can easily wipe out humans on the planet.
“The United Nations designated June 30 as International Asteroid Day, which to many people may seem like a strange thing to do,” she said according to Express. “It certainly isn’t because asteroids are about to become extinct, like some endangered wildlife.”
“Instead, it’s because there’s a threat that we, as humans, could become extinct if an asteroid was to collide with Earth,” she added.
Similar to what happened to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, humans are in danger of getting wiped out if an asteroid several miles long hits Earth. Aside from the magnitude of the initial explosion, the wide-scale extinction will also be caused by extreme environmental events that will be triggered by a major asteroid impact.
Of course, NASA and other space agencies around the globe are doing their best to prevent another extinction-level event from happening. Through satellites and other sophisticated monitoring systems, these agencies are keeping track of asteroids that might collide with Earth in the future.
So far, the agencies noted that they haven’t detected a major asteroid that has a 100% chance of hitting Earth within the next century.
Despite the agencies’ assurance, Starkey believes that it is still highly possible for an asteroid to remain undetected in the vastness of space. For the cosmochemist, this kind of asteroid is what the people of Earth should be worried about.
“There is always the possibility a random object that scientists can’t yet see is lurking out there in the outer Solar System, in an orbit that intersects that of Earth within the next few decades,” she said.
“The problem is that it is currently impossible for astronomers to track every object in the Solar System, particularly the small and fast-moving ones that are on random orbits,” Starkey added.