Earth confronted with asteroid that will make crater bigger than London

The 900 biggest "hazardous" asteroids out there would make a hole in the Earth bigger than London and our long-term survival depends on how well we prepare, according to an expert.

The news comes after astronomers mapped 2,000 potentially hazardous asteroids’ trajectories over the next 1,000 years, finding the prognosis was good for this time period.

A type of near-Earth asteroid or comet, the potentially hazardous object has an orbit which could come close to Earth and is big enough to have a major impact were it to collide.

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Nuclear chemist Dr Tim Gregory explained to the Daily Star what one of these big asteroids with a chance of causing Earth problems down the road would actually do were it to collide with us.

“If one of the 900 ‘potentially hazardous asteroids’ exceeding one kilometre across hits the Earth, about 2,000 hydrogen bombs worth of energy would be released in the blast,” he said.

“It would gouge a crater some 16 kilometres across, easily enough to encircle London.”

The issues would go well beyond the immediate collision though, describing scenes that sounded like something out of recent Netflix movie Don’t Look Up.

“It would cause planet-wide cooling and devastate the place where it hit.

“We’re probably safe for at least 1,000 years, though.”

Perhaps most concerningly though, Dr Gregory explained that while we might not have too much to worry about in the immediate future, at some point humanity will have to measure up to the task.

"But one day, in the far future, we will have to contend with the possibility of such an event; our long-term survival as a species hinges on whether or not we adequately prepare ourselves.”

Dr Tim is one of the speakers at this year’sNew Scientist Liveat ExCeL London and is the author of Meteorite: How Stones from Outer Space Made Our World.

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