Asteroid Collision With Earth Inevitable: ‘Matter Of When Not If,’ Experts Warn

First Posted: Jun 22, 2017 06:53 AM EDT

The catastrophic event of an asteroid colliding with Earth is just a matter of time, experts have recently said. An asteroid strike can devastate major cities and such an eventuality is not a case of if it will occur, but rather when will it occur, according to researchers from Queen’s University Belfast in Britain.

The grim warning comes right before the Asteroid Day that falls on June 30. According to NDTV, the reason behind choosing this date to mark the day has an incident associated with it. On June 30, 1908, a small asteroid had exploded above Siberia’s Tunguska region and leveled trees as well as burned 2,000 square kilometers of ground area.

To observe Asteroid Day this year, there will be a live streaming of presentations and discussions from Luxembourg. The esteemed panel of experts participating in the event will include International Space Station astronaut Nicole Stott and Apollo 9 veteran Rusty Schweickart. They will also be taking questions from people on social media.

According to Alan Fitzsimmons, an unexpected asteroid strike, similar in size to the one that exploded over Siberia, will have a disastrous effect and will have the ability to devastate a major city. If the asteroid is bigger, then the result will be more catastrophic.

"It is important to know that scientists and engineers have made great strides in detecting near-Earth asteroids and understanding the threat posed by them," Fitzsimmons said. "Over 1,800 potentially hazardous objects have been discovered so far, but there are many more waiting to be found.

The expert also added that though astronomers discover near-Earth harmless asteroids every other day but there are chances of a yet undiscovered asteroid taking mankind by surprise. Moreover, even if humans detect asteroids, it will not be helpful unless something can be done about them.

Incidentally, the chance of a large enough asteroid colliding with the planet is increasing with each passing year. This warning came from Czech scientists who observed 144 fireballs from a meteor shower recently. The meteor shower in question was the Taurid meteor shower that helped the scientists from the Czech Academy of Sciences know about the enhanced activity in 2015. Their study showed that at least two of the asteroids were in the range of 200-300 meters in size.

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