Sputnik News – June 22, 2017
Experts with Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in Northern Ireland have warned that it’s only a matter of time before a large asteroid strikes Earth, causing a natural catastrophe unparalleled in the ruin that it would bring.
Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons, an expert with QUB’s Astrophysics Research Center, compared the inevitable destruction to the Tunguska event of 1908, when a meteoroid exploded in orbit above a Siberian forest, raining impactors down on the woods below. The impact, estimated to have been the equivalent of 3 to 5 megatons of TNT (333 to 500 times as much power as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima), flattened 770 square miles of forest. No human casualties were reported, but had the event happened in a densely populated area, the casualties would have likely been in the millions.
Since then, Earth has had its fair share of near misses. In January, an asteroid as big as or larger than the Tunguska impactor came within 110,000 miles of Earth – less than half the distance between the Earth and the moon, a stone’s throw by astronomical standards. In August 2027, an asteroid half a mile long is expected to buzz the Earth, and has a tiny chance of striking the planet.