We live in a pretty safe place of the solar system, with Jupiter attracting a lot of the asteroids that come across. But the gas giant cannot do its job perfectly, and we shouldn’t forget that an asteroid wiping all life forms has already hit our planet about 66 million years ago. It happened before, and it will happen again. The only question is ‘When?’.
As grim as it sounds, plenty of scientists are claiming this hypothesis, and the latest is the physicist Rob van den Berg.
A one-in-300,000 chance per year
Apparently, chances that an asteroid as big as the one that killed the dinosaurs to hit us now are very low. NASA claims that there’s a one-in-300,000 chance every year that our planet can be hit by an asteroid that has the potential of causing regional damage. But the asteroid that visited us 66 million years ago is the type that hits Earth once every several million years. Therefore, there’s a chance that such scenario will repeat itself soon. And yes, if it does it will cause the end of the human race.
Rob van Berg wrote for Q&A website Quora:
The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs had a size of about 10 miles and such impacts only happen every several million years (since this particular one was the last, it has been 65 million years now).
But no matter how small the chance of it happening in our lifetime, it is pretty much destined that another big one will eventually hit Earth again, some time in the future.
Luckily for us, NASA is currently able to detect 90 percent of the asteroids larger than one kilometer across and that are approaching our planet. But that still leaves 10 percent of them undetected. All we can do is hope that if another huge asteroid wants to visit us, it will happen very far into the future when humanity might have the right tools to be able to obliterate it.