Space group B612’s President Danica Remy claimed the risk to Earth from asteroids is very small in the short-term but inevitable in the long-term. Speaking to NBC she said she was 100 percent of a future collision. She said: “It’s 100 percent certain that we’re going to get hit, but we’re not 100 percent certain when.”
B612, set up in 2002, is an organisation leading global efforts to protect Earth from the potential impact of asteroids.
One of the foundations original goals was to advocate for and see that an asteroid demonstration deflection mission was implemented.
Ms Remy claimed for the first time in human history there is now the technology to help solve the problem.
Experts in planetary defence are now working on ways to deflect potentially hazardous earth bound asteroids.
Experts believe it is inevitable earth will be hit by a devastating asteroid
Scientists are working on deflection technologies to protect the Earth
However scientists claim more needs to be done to detect them in time to take effective action.
An asteroid the size of the Eifell Tower hurtled past Earth at the start of August, travelling at a speed of over 10,000mph.
Dubbed 2006 QQ23, the space rock missed the planet by 4.6million miles.
While this is not quite a close shave for most, it is in the danger zone in astronomical terms.
Asteroid 2006 QQ23 came close to Earth at the start of August
NASA estimates that at least 95 percent of asteroids one kilometre (3,280 feet) or larger have been cataloged, with none posing a threat to Earth.
The more realistic danger comes from space rocks the size of 2006 QQ23, which could flatten an entire city, killing millions and causing widespread destruction in the event of a direct hit.
Ms Remy said: “The kind of devastation that we’d be looking at is more of at a regional level than a planetary level, but it’s still going to have global impact — on transportation, networking, climate, weather.”
Experts believe the key to avoiding a scenario is to go beyond planet killers and find all the asteroids that could hit the earth.
An asteroid could cause catastrophic results if it were to hit the Earth
Ms Remy added: “The real issue is that we need to have an inventory of all the asteroids.
“The whole point is to be able to find all of these asteroids and to catalogue their orbits precisely and to calculate them into the future.
“So, you know if it is going to pass 19 lunar distances away like 2006 QQ23 or if it is going to pass closer — or if it is going to pose an impact threat.”
NASA is now mounting a mission to test a system for deflecting asteroids.
The agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is set to launch in 2021.
The technology will blast a kinetic impactor into an asteroid set to skim earth in 2022 with the aim to alter its path.
NASA’s Near Earth Object Observation program manager Kelly Fast told NBC: “The impact will blow off material to give it an extra push.”
She added an asteroid heading towards Earth would only need to be deflected by a tiny amount to keep it from colliding with the planet.
NASA’s DART program is looking into deflecting asteroids
Another way to deflect an asteroid is to use the gravity of a space ship to alter the space rocks path.
Ms Remy said: “The idea is you use the gravity between a small spacecraft and the asteroid to gently tug it into another orbit.”
The third option being explored is to detonate a nuclear explosion near the asteroid to nudge it onto a different course.
These approaches will only work if there is enough advance warning an asteroid is heading towards the earth.
Astrophysicist and science-fiction author David Brin believes the advanced technology will protect the planet from a major asteroid strike like the one that killed the dinosaurs.
He told NBC: “As far as asteroid strikes go, we need to remember that the dinosaurs aren’t here because they didn’t have a space program.”