Earlier this month, Russia’s Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau announced it’s intention to upgrade intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), to be used against asteroids that could potentially impact the Earth. The proposal comes two years after the high-altitude, 500-kiloton explosion of a 20-meter (65-foot) meteorite over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, an event that caused extensive injuries and property damage.
65-Million years ago, the asteroid that hit the Yucatan Peninsula – leaving a crater approximately 110 miles wide and 12 miles deep – is widely believed to have raised the dust cloud that triggered the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. With an eye toward preventing (if possible) the repetition of such an Earth-shattering event, NASA keeps track of PHA’s – or potentially hazardous asteroids – to improve predictions of close encounters with these flying objects and to more accurately assess and potentially deter the threat of impact and damage from them.
Unknown Country has been keeping a keen eye on the skies just recently, and with good cause: following the revelation last week that the Earth had narrowly escaped serious damage from 26 very sizeable asteroids over the past few years, another lucky escape was reported over the weekend.
The risk of a sizeable asteroid colliding with the earth has always been purported to be extremely low, with scientists reporting that such an event was only likely to occur every twenty million years or so.
Unfortunately, our collective sigh of relief could be a little premature, as recent evidence suggests that, not only is the risk much higher than previously thought, but that such events are occurring regularly in our atmosphere. The new information has been released by an organisation known as the B612 foundation, a private collective whose mission is to detect and deflect dangerous asteroids.