Chaos erupted in 2013 when an undetected 65.6ft-wide (20m) asteroid exploded over Russia’ Chelyabinsk Oblast.

The asteroid’s eruption blew out windows in a wide radius, damaged more than 7,000 buildings and injured more than 1,000 people with shards of glass.

Dr Rivkin said: “So it has really come a long way, and something like DART 20 years ago would have been deemed kind of outlandish.

“And now, these missions and the like are seen as more of an insurance policy.

“And they don’t cost a whole lot, certainly compared to other things that we similarly see as insurance policies.

“And so developing the capability, understanding what’s out there, only seems prudent.


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