Astronomers around the world were caught completely off-guard when an asteroid about 300 feet across barely missed Earth on July 25. That is double the size of an asteroid that leveled 800 square miles in Siberia a century ago.
This asteroid was not even discovered until the day before it whirled past earth at 900 mph. It was just over 40,000 miles away. Some reports described it as a “city-killer.” One university professor described it as “impressively close … a pretty big deal.”
40,000 miles is anything but a safe distance. Astronomers and those who track asteroids will tell you that we could have sustained a direct hit.
If that had happened, then an area of 2,000-plus square miles could have been obliterated in an instant, along with everyone in it. That is the size of Delaware.
Depending upon the size of the asteroid, we could lose a city, a region, several nations or the entire planet.
In December, over the Pacific Ocean, another never-detected “small” asteroid exploded just 15 miles above Earth’s surface with 10 times the destructive force of the nuclear weapon detonated over Hiroshima during World War II.
And just this past weekend, on Aug. 10, an asteroid almost 2,000 feet across came within 5 million miles of Earth. This should have been close enough to make us think of the growing danger and our defenselessness.
As of this writing, NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office — “Defense” in name only, as it can do nothing to protect our planet at the moment — is tracking five more asteroids heading in the direction of Earth.
NASA and those tasked with tracking these asteroids continually miss detecting many under 500 feet across in size. In other words, they’re missing building- and skyscraper-sized boulders that, if they hit, could wipe out a city, a region or a small country and kill millions in the process.
Douglas MacKinnon wrote in an article in The Hill: “The U.S. should stop delaying and politicking, and get our own moon-launch and other space exploration programs on track, because such efforts could lead to solutions to the asteroid danger.
Anything less remains an abject failure and leaves all of humanity at risk.”