There are many sci-fi movies about the idea of an asteroid wiping out all life on Earth, but the European Space Agency are warning that this could possibly become an unfortunate reality in the near future.
The ESA estimates that there are around 878 asteroids that are on the “risk list” for their potential to hit Earth.
Most worryingly, even a small asteroid could potentially cause “serious destruction” – at least according to the ESA.
This all sounds very bad, but try to avoid worrying too much. The ESA has teamed up with other international partners to find asteroids – and develop technologies to deflect and destroy them – before they can become a major threat.
Experts are set to meet across Europe in the near future to discuss these efforts and coordinate them to get the ball rolling.
The first such meeting is set to take place between the 11th and 13th of September in Rome. Experts are set to discuss NASA’s plan to crash the DART spacecraft into Diymos-B, a 160-meter asteroid that could threaten Earth.
The next meeting is set for the 12th and 13th of September. Then, experts will gather in Munich to discuss how and why Asteroid 2006 QV89 managed to slip past the net. It wasn’t detected, but thankfully it didn’t hit Earth. There was a narrow miss a few days ago on the 9th of September. Understanding how the asteroid wasn’t detected is sure to help with detecting and preventing future asteroids.
The third and final meeting is set for the 16th and 17th of September. The ESA will host an emergency response workshop in Germany. The workshop is intended to establish a link between the ESA and national civil protection authorities to make sure everyone is on the same page.
The ESA said of the meetings; “These three meetings illustrate the breadth of activity currently taking place across the globe to mitigate the risk of an asteroid impact, to ensure early warnings of such a threat, and to prepare on Earth in the unlikely event of a strike – planetary defense is heating up!”
So try not to worry so much. There’s a lot of asteroids out there but our best scientists are working on it!