VIA| THERE is NOTHING man can do to stop humans being wiped off Earth if an asteroid bigger than 100 meters across is on collision course with Earth, a top scientist has warned.
Lord Martin Rees, astronomer and Royal cosmologist, spoke of the likelihood of a major global catastrophe or even life being wiped from Earth.
Alarmingly, Lord Rees conceded if a comet or asteroid measuring more than 100 meters across were ever to be on course towards the planet we may have to resign ourselves to defeat.
He also admitted if it was likely to hit a third world nation “LESS effort” would probably be ploughed into mitigating the impact.
It is worrying, as NASA monitored a 480-metre long huge asteroid within the last few weeks which it fears could hit us as early as November 2038 or, if not, in 2052, although it says there is only a one in 1.3 million chance of either flyby actually striking us.
And between 2044 and 2053 a 121-metre rock it also monitored has EIGHT possible impact dates with a much higher combined 1 in 33,000 risk of one of them landing.
Lord Rees was forced to accept that it was pretty much accepted within the scientific community that if one of such a size or bigger were detected heading our way, it would be a case of evacuating continents or even the whole planet as no technology exists to deal with the threat.
His stark warning came in response to a question from the audience during a Q&A with a panel of nine, including some of the UK’s top asteroid and comet experts, led by Queen Guitarist and astrophysicist Dr Brian May during World Asteroid Day at London’s Science Museum.
He said if one were detected on path towards Europe or North America there would be a global red alert with as much resources as possible ploughed into preparing for impact and evacuations.
However, he added: “If it was heading for a poorer or less populated area, then I imagine there would be less effort.”
He said it would “depend” on where the object was expected to hit and added: “If we knew it was coming we could look at evacuations.”
But May spoke of more optimism.
He was buoyed by how much mainstream and social media interest there was recently in the issue of the asteroid and comet threat and said World Asteroid Day meant a worldwide team was now looking at the threat as opposed to individual groups, which was better.