Asteroid WARNING: US Defence Secretary warns DEVASTATING impact 'could be TOMORROW'

Killer with the destructive potential to wipe out vast swathes of humanity strike every hundreds of millions of years. But William Cohen, the former US Secretary of Defence under President Bill Clinton, fears the next asteroid strike could happen even earlier. The colossal asteroid, which is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, struck in modern-day Mexico some 65 million years ago. The asteroid only measured an estimated 6.8 miles to 50.3 miles (11km to 81km) in diameter but was responsible for the extinction of 75 percent of all life on Earth.

Should a genuine asteroid threat present itself in the near future, Mr Cohen warned it would take a much smaller asteroid to rain fire and brimstone over Earth.

Speaking to George Noory of Coast to Coast AM radio, Mr Cohen said a 450ft-wide (137m) asteroid could wipe out an entire city or region.

An even bigger, half-a-mile (800m) rock, could completely devastate the planet.

And the biggest danger associated with deep space impacts is “it could be tomorrow”.


Asteroid warning: US Secretary of Defence

Asteroid warning: William Cohen warned of killer asteroids striking Earth (Image: GETTY)

Mr Cohen said: “If you look at the speed at which they come in, 33,000mph to 40,000mph with that kind of size, it would devastate the planet.

It would devastate the planet

William Cohen, former US Secretary of Defence

“It would crack the mantle of the Earth. If it landed in the sea it would crack the mantle there and then take the centre of our Earth and push it up into the atmosphere.

“It would turn into fireballs coming down and ultimately that is acid rain because you have carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and methane combining into a mushroom all over the planet.”

The most recent asteroid strike, which sparked widespread interest around the globe, was the 2013 Chelyabinsk Meteor incident.


On February 15, 2013, a small undetected asteroid measuring only about 65.6ft (20m) in diameter flew over Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia.

The small asteroid exploded in the air with 30-times the force of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb dropped in 1945.

The resulting airblast damaged more than 7,000 buildings in the region and more than 1,000 people suffered injuries from blown out windows.

Mr Cohen said: “If it can do that damage, imagine what something a mile-wide or two miles-wide can do.”


Asteroid warning: US Secretary of Defence

Asteroid warning: Mr Cohen shared his asteroid fears on Coast to Coast AM radio (Image: GETTY)

Asteroid warning: Asteroid hitting Earth

Asteroid warning: Killer asteroids rarely strike Earth but they do exist in deep space (Image: GETTY)

The Earth’s atmosphere is pelted by space debris on a daily basis, with more than 100 tonnes of sand-sized dust striking every day.

According to US space agency , larger objects approximately the size of a car hit the Earth once a year.

Even bigger asteroids the size of a football pitch strike on average once every 2,000 years.

NASA said: “Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth’s civilisation comes along.

“Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences.

“Space rocks smaller than about 25m – about 82ft – will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere and cause little or no damage.

“If a rocky meteoroid larger than 25m but smaller than one kilometre – a little more than half-a-mile – were to hit Earth, it would likely cause local damage to the impact area.”

NASA said the largest known “potentially hazardous” asteroid at 3.3 miles (5.4km) across is Asteroid Toutatis.


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