Humanity is not prepared for an Armageddon-style, end of the world type of catastrophe – no matter how much of an adventure that sounds like. Yet, astrophysicist Brian May, who some of you may know as the lead guitarist of Queen, argues that this might be the devastating future for mankind if we don’t do something about the impending asteroid strikes.
But he’s not alone. May joins an international group of one hundred leading scientists, astronomers, former astronauts and celebrities in calling for a rapid expansion of efforts to detect and prevent future asteroids strikes. Just yesterday, December 3rd, 2014, a joint news conference was held at the California Academy of Sciences, and also in London to bring attention to “Asteroid Day” – an educational campaign aimed at raising awareness of the potential threat of space rocks.
By doing so, May, along with other members, hope to eventually boost the rate of near-Earth asteroid tracking by a factor of 100, so that at least 100,000 asteroids can be discovered each year. According to May, “The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it becomes that the human race has been living on borrowed time.”
“We are currently aware of less than 1% of objects comparable to the one that impacted at Tunguska, and nobody knows when the next big one will hit.
The Tunguska event May refers to occurred on June 30th, 1908, and resulted in the complete obliteration of 800 square miles of forest in Siberia due to an asteroid strike. To mark the 107th anniversary of the event and to continue to raise awareness, the campaign has officially set aside June 30th, 2015 as “Asteroid Day.”
By doing so, researchers hope to be able to prevent another catastrophic incident, such as the one that wiped out all the dinosaurs nearly 65 millions years ago on Earth. In fact, deflection of asteroids is possible by utilizing a robotic “observer” probe and “kinetic impactor” craft. The observer, which is used to note the effects of deep-space collisions, can also alter an asteroid’s velocity by flying alongside it. The impactor, on the other hand, is capable of slamming into the asteroid.
The strategy, however, can only work with proper preparation and early detection – at least 20 years before the space rock is predicted to hit Earth. Thus, an early call to action is absolutely vital in ensuring the future and safety of humanity.
To learn more about Asteroid Day, go to www.asteroidday.org.