'Killer' Asteroid Could Be Heading Our Way & Scientists Are Kind of Worried (VIDEO)

asteroidSooo, remember when that huge motherlovin' ASTEROID exploded over Russia last month? (Yeah, right -- who could forget?!) Obviously it was scary and horrible (because over 1,000 people were injured), but it was kind of a good thing. Because at least it gave scientists the opportunity to bring up a rather vexing issue -- one we've apparently been ignoring for quite sometime: What, if anything, could we (meaning humans) do if a superhuge asteroid was headed straight for us? In, say, 3 weeks time ... in the direction of New York City?

That very question was posed to NASA administrator Charles Bolden at a recent "House Committee meeting on asteroids" (who knew they had actual meetings about this stuff?!). Bolden's answer? "Pray."

Um, that's a bit ... disconcerting. (Points for honesty, though.)

The problem, according to former astronaut Ed Lu, is that we'd need at least "a few years" warning in order to actually deter an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. But scouring space for destructive rocks takes money, and at the moment, NASA doesn't have enough. Said Lu:

"Right now we have no options. If you dont know where they are, there's nothing you can do."

Yikes! Scientists are hoping the incident in Russia will lead to increased funding for detection programs, but realistically, they need at least a billion dollars.

All told, the war in Iraq will end up costing us close to 6 trillion dollars.

Hmm, wonder where our priorities lie? By the way, when asked what kind of impact an asteroid that was a kilometer in diameter would have if it hit us, Lu answered:

"That is likely to end human civilization."

And unlike war, it'll get the job done without costing us a dime!

Do you think we should spend more money on asteroid-detecting programs?

Image via CBS

astronomy, in the news


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insei... inseineangel

It was a meteoroid that struck in Russia, not an asteroid. A meteoroid is a particle from an asteroid. If an asteroid struck Russia, depending on the size, there may not have been a Russia left. Please, please get your terminology right.

Other than that, interesting article.

insei... inseineangel

Also (because you guys do this waaaaay too much), think about your title before you publish your articles. An asteroid or METEOROID could strike us at any time. The way you titled this makes it sound imminent and in the near future.

nonmember avatar American Expat

Oh, but, Thomas Jefferson, one of our never wrong founding fathers, said it's more likely two yankee professors are liars than that rocks can fall from the sky. Therefore, meteors, meteorites, do not exist! And the universe is only 6000 years old!

insei... inseineangel

Before someone else corrects me on my own mistake (especially after nagging about terminology), I meant meteorITE.  Oopsie ^_^

summe... summerblythe

That title did almost give me a heart attack.

MammaSam MammaSam

6000 yrs old huh? Nice.

Melan... MelanieMans

Asteroids move to fast, if we did detect one there wouldnt be enough time to do anything about it. Just like someone said, it was a meteorite over Russia, an asteroid would have blew the Earth away.

nonmember avatar VAL

How the EFF is NASA going to say that they "don't have the funds" to save human civilization?!!? Ummmm, how much money has gone to their program which looks to find other life sustainable planets???? Exactly!! Now that I think about it, maybe it's to find another planet for the rich and powerful to live in, while the rest of us just die...?

Jasper Johns

This all sounds very much like a novel I just read called "THE MYOSHI EFFECT" which is about what happens when a giant asteroid hurtles toward earth, and how they try to destroy it. "THE MYOSHI EFFECT" is a black humor, kind of Douglas Adams-y, but very factual. Weird how fiction imitates life.

Richard McCabe

This is a world problem, so the UN should take care of it.

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