In 2029 an extinction event asteroid may hit the earth, according to Russian scientists.
Every two to ten years a catestrophic event asteroid hits the earth. As our population grows the odds of it hitting where it will cause destruction for man increases.
Billions of small meteor and comet fragments hit the earth each year, most burning up in the atomsphere, but some hitting the earth.
Sci Fi disaster films may not be as far off as you might think.
NPR's Science Friday edition of Talk of the Nation examined the potential of a disaster from space, what is being done to detect them and if we are in a position to save ourselves.
It's worth a listen, for coffee table discussion and for your own peace of mind (or not).
Computer World Security take a look at the same topic: "Combinations of space- and ground-based telescopes may be the most economically palpable defenses NASA can mount against asteroids and comets heading toward Earth, but there are more advanced defenses involving spacecraft and nuclear explosions that might be plausible in the future. Those were just some of the conclusions included in a report, “Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies,” issued January 22, from scientists at the National Research Council on what options NASA has to detect more near-Earth objects (NEOs) -- asteroids and comets that could pose a hazard to Earth."
NPRs All Things Considered says the international interests in saving our planet from a disaster that may or may happen in the near or far distant future is simply not there, due to the costs against the immediate needs here on earth.
Bruce Willis and "Armageddon" aside we are not ready, do not know enough, and may not even see the end of mankind coming. Hollywood aside, the odds against a smaller asteroid hitting a major city are astronomical, but someone somewhere will die.
So the issue is do we spend the money on NASA and on planetary defense, or on other issues closer to home, reduce taxes and get wealthy or make sure our children, grandchildren and great-great grandchildren are safe from dangers from above?
You Tube simulations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlF8APEkh-E , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InPNk44v7uw&feature=related, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq6q2BrTino,
First posted 1-30-09