The space race is over.
But that doesn’t mean that danger from outer space no longer exists.
Now NASA is paying closer attention to one growing civilizational threat.
Giant asteroids falling from the sky would cause catastrophic damage.
Two billion years ago, an asteroid struck South Africa and created the Vredefort crater, the largest one on Earth.
The crater stretches an unbelievable 190 miles wide.
The second-largest crater on Earth, the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, was created when a giant asteroid struck 65 million years ago.
This asteroid left a crater 93 miles wide, and its effects supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs.
Devastation on that scale has to be taken seriously, and NASA is doing exactly that.
NASA has begun ramping up its detection efforts after a near miss from Asteroid 2019 OK.
The football-field-sized asteroid went undetected by NASA and came within 62,000 miles of Earth, which is less than one-fifth the distance between Earth and the Moon.
Asteroid 2019 OK made its pass in July of this year, which concerned NASA because asteroids that size generally do not go undetected.
An asteroid that size traveling at 55,000 miles per hour could’ve caused a 50 megaton blast, which is triple the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
NASA has been prioritizing detection in recent months so we don’t get blindsided by such an ominous threat.
Even though NASA has identified approximately 90 percent of the large asteroids in orbit, the undetected ones—such as 2019 OK—are the larger concern.
An undetected asteroid is still large enough to level an entire city.
Currently, there are four known large asteroids in orbit that are projected to come close enough to Earth to be considered near misses, and two of them are scheduled to pass Earth in roughly the next 20 years.
Asteroid 2014 JO25, approximately the size of six football fields, should pass Earth in 2027 with a hit probably of 1/8300.
Asteroid 2014 AG5, a little over the size of one football field, is scheduled to pass Earth in 2040 with a hit probably of 1/625.
These asteroids and others cannot be ruled out as threats.
And although giant asteroids are a danger, smaller asteroids can present more immediate problems.
They can’t level cities, but they can still do considerable damage.
Small rocks burn as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, but they cause explosions that can have effects on the ground.
In 2013, an explosion from a space rock disintegrating resulted in 1,000 injuries due to broken glass.
While not much can be done to safeguard against a 600-mile-wide asteroid slamming into Earth, there are precautions that can be taken against smaller rocks and space junk that cause explosions upon entry into the atmosphere.
If such an event happens and there’s a loss of power, be prepared to hunker down for a while.
It doesn’t take much to trigger a crisis when the electricity goes out for an extended amount of time.