“Scientists agree: It is not a matter of if such disasters will happen, but when.” -Don Nardo

Asteroid 2005 YU55, Courtesy of NASA

Last week, an asteroid passed within 202,000 miles of Earth. The asteroid, according to CNN, was the size of an air craft carrier. Given the bulk of this piece of debris, the population breathed a little easier when it was confirmed that, as Andrew Revkin of the New York Times put it, “This space rock [wouldn’t] add to the planet’s pockmarks.”

But that won’t always be the case, Revkin writes. There will be a day, inevitably, when “we have a losing spin in this never-ending game of  ‘Solar System Roulette’– as a smaller, but still cataclysmically dangerous, comet or asteroid is identified as having an earth-intersecting trajectory.

According to Don Nardo, author of Extreme Threats: Asteroids and Comets, a Morgan Reynolds title, “Scientists . . . believe that there may be thousands of . . . objects [such as asteroids] that could, at the very least, cause severe damage; in a worst-case scenario, collision with a large asteroid or comet could wipe out nearly all life on Earth.”

In recent years, concern about such an event has motivated scientists and politicians to start making preparations  to deflect space objects heading toward our planet.

This is a wise move, because, as Nardo writes, “It is 100 percent certain that they [asteroids] will do so [cause major destruction to the Earth] . . . in the future. And therein lies the gripping story of the largest, most destructive threat the human race presently faces.”

Armageddon, anyone?

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information on asteroids and comets, check out Extreme Threats: Asteroids and Comets by Don Nardo (ISBN 9781599351216)

Also in the Extreme Threat series:

Extreme Threats: Climate Change by Don Nardo (ISBN 9781599351193)

Extreme Threats: Volcanoes by Don Nardo (ISBN 9781599351186)

Extreme Threats: Wildfire by Kevin Cunningham (ISBN 9781599351209)

Published in: on November 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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