There is a one-in-300 chance that Earth will be struck on March 16, 2880, by an asteroid large enough to destroy civilization and possibly cause the extinction of the human race. But, on the bright side, Prince could re-release his hit song with the new refrain 'We're gonna party like its twenty-eight seventy-nine.'
Most estimates of the mortality risk posed by asteroid impacts put it at about the same risk as flying in a commercial airliner. However, you have to remember that this is like the entire human race riding the plane - it is one of the few risks that really could wipe us all out.
Sooner or later, we will face a catastrophic threat from space. Of all the possible threats, only a gigantic asteroid hit can destroy the entire planet. If we prepare now, we better our odds of survival. The dinosaurs never knew what hit them.
An asteroid could hit us at any moment. This is not - and also, the most successful kind of life on this planet is not us, it's microbes. They're the ones who greatly outnumber us, and may eventually destroy us.
After once having made the mistake of watching television news, I had worried for a while about an asteroid hitting the earth and wiping out human civilization. The anchorwoman had said it was not merely possible but probable. At the end of the report, she smiled.
It would be great if we were on multiple planets, but I think that's unrealistic. Hawking says we have to be on multiple planets so an asteroid could come and you'd still have some humans left. It's a nice idea. It satisfies the multiple-eggs-in-multiple-baskets concept.
In my mind, public space travel will precede efforts toward exploration -- be it returning to the moon, going to Mars, visiting asteroids, or whatever seems appropriate. We've got millions and millions of people who want to go into space, who are willing to pay. When you figure in the payload potential of customers, everything changes.
The chunks of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 were so large, and were moving so fast, that each hit Jupiter with at least the equivalent energy of the dinosaur-killing collision between Earth and an asteroid 65 million years ago. Whatever damage Jupiter sustained, one thing is for sure: it's got no dinosaurs left.
Because our lungs regularly deal with carbon dioxide, they see nothing wrong with absorbing its cousin, SiO2, which can be fatal. Many dinosaurs might have died this way when a metropolis-sized asteroid or comet struck the earth 65 million years ago.
The future is about wings and wheels and new forms of space transportation, along with our deep-space ambition to set foot on another world in our solar system: Mars. I firmly believe we will establish permanence on that planet. And in reaching for that goal, we can cultivate commercial development of the moon, the asteroid belt, the Red Planet itself and beyond.