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Is There an Asteroid in Our Future?

The answer is yes?but not for about a hundred years: on May 4, 2102 to be exact, when the asteroid known as 2004 VD17 is scheduled to come close to earth. By then, NASA may be able to fight it off by firing a spacecraft into it to deflect it from crashing into the earth. Despite the fact that an asteroid impact wiped out an entire species (the dinosaurs) around 65 million years ago, the odds are that something else, like global warming, will get us first.

Small asteroids hit the Earth every few hundred years, but their effects can be deadly, as happened in the case of the dinosaurs. An asteroid that hit Siberia in 1908 had the force of 1,000 atomic bombs. The area it hit was unpopulated.

The leading causes of death in the US are heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory diseases and accidents. Disasters like tsunamis are so rare, they are statistically negligible. Asteroid impacts aren?t even on the list, probably because no one would be around to compile the data after one hit.

Art credit: ESA

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