Asteroids Comets Meteorites

As you are reading this now, there could be many asteroids, capable of causing an extinction event, hurtling towards us unnoticed, through the massive void of space.

When a object from space intersects with our orbit it will


probably impact at sea, since it covers about two thirds of our Planet surface.

We now know that asteroids comets or meteorites will hit at some stage in the future. Weather its 5 days, 5 years or 5 centuries it will happen. There have been many close calls in the past, some of these asteroids observed only days before entering our solar system.

31st March 1989 a 300 meter in diameter lump of iron whizzed past Earth missing by a mere 690,000km. With the speed the Earth is moving we avoided a collision by a mere 7 hours. Had this ripped into the Earths atmosphere at 100,000kms per hour and impacted, it would have exploded with the force equivalent to 20 billion ton's of TNT leaving a crater 10kms wide by 1 km deep, destroying life within 200kms of impact zone.

This asteroid was a pebble compared with the asteroid Toutatis measuring at approximately 8 x 5km wide which passed within 3.5 million kilometers of Earth on November 29th 1996, which is a microscopic amount by intergalactic standards. This would do more than destroy a city, it would be the end of our species.

Impacts of this magnitude were observed between the 16th and 22nd July 1994 where 600m to 4km fragments off comet Shoemaker - Levy 9 slammed into the giant planet of Jupiter, which is over 1000 times bigger than our Earth. Each impact causing an explosion the size of our planet.
to see actual photos from the Hubble space telescope

This was a timely reminder that solar system we live in is very much alive.
Due to lack of funding we have only mapped 5% of interplanetary objects that may pass close to our Earth. We are looking for objects in a space that is infinitely large, akin to looking for a grain of sand in the Sahara dessert. So it doesn't take a genius to work out that 95% of Near Earth Objects roam unnoticed.

If an object 800km across hit us would humanity have ever existed? What can we do to prevent this?

Check the Asteroids bulletin board for more on this topic