An astronomy expert said there’s one thing you shouldn’t do if an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth and it is not what you’d expect.
An astronomy expert has revealed what you shouldn’t do if a giant space rock is hurtling towards Earth.
Swinburne astronomer and director of the Space Technology and Industry Institute Professor Alan Duffy said if an asteroid or meteor flies towards the planet, you should try and not look at it.
“I would say the best advice is, for goodness sake, do not look at this thing. I mean, it‘s going to be hard not to – the brightness of the glare from these objects burning up in the atmosphere,” he told the I’ve Got News For You podcast.
“That‘s actually what caused a lot of the injuries in Chelyabinsk, people not unreasonably looked up at this enormous burning fireball in the sky, whose brightness was essentially that of the Sun by the time it finally erupted, that caused a lot of retina damage.
“So make sure you’re not looking right at it.”
The last large space rock that entered earth was the Chelyabinsk meteor which burned out above Russia in February, 2013. The light from the meteor was briefly brighter than the sun and was visible up to 100km away.
NASA has now started a mission that could prevent situations similar to Chelyabinsk.
The space agency will fire an explosive-laden missile into an enormous asteroid to see if they can knock it off course.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission fired off a SpaceX rocket on November 24 with the missile expected to hit Dimorphos in September 2022.
However, Professor Duffy said there shouldn’t be huge concern about giant space rocks smashing into the planet.
“The asteroids are definitely not our biggest problem on Earth right now,” he said.
“They are a problem, the asteroid size of Dimorphos is about 160 metres across. That‘s known as a city killer, that would take out essentially an entire metropolitan region if it was to hit.
“Those things are going to hit the earth about once every 1000 or 2000 years. So it’s not a super rare event by geological standards, but isn’t maybe not something we’re going to be worrying about tomorrow.”