The new book “Cosmic Impact: Understanding the Threat to Earth from Asteroids and Comets,” by Andrew May (Icon Books), gives an overview of the potential dangers we may one day face from near-Earth objects (NEOs), noting that on a smaller scale, items falling to Earth from space is a daily occurrence.
The Torino Scale considers the size of NEOs and the chances of them hitting Earth over the next hundred years to place the possible danger on a scale from 1 to 10.
Getty Images When scientists spotted a 350-meter asteroid that year, they calculated a greater than 1 percent chance it would collide with Earth in 2029.
“When the Tunguska object entered Earth’s atmosphere, [there] was an explosion on the order of 10-15 megatons — typical of a Cold War nuclear weapon,” May writes.
While there’s no way to defend against an object we never see coming, if an NEO should be spotted on a direct path to Earth, there are options for Earth’s defense.