Asteroid warning: Billions of people will die in asteroid impact – shock warning – Express.co.uk

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Asteroid warning: Billions of people will die in asteroid impact – shock warning – Express.co.uk

The dinosaurs’ reign on Earth was brought to a fiery end 66 million years ago when a 10km wide space rock came crashing into Earth. While the chances of a dinosaur-killing-asteroid hitting Earth again are small – astronomers say this happens on average every 100 million years or so – there is still a chance. And if a major asteroid were to hit Earth, a billion people could be wiped off the face of the planet, one expert has warned.

According to the National Research Council, some 91 people will die in an asteroid event each year.

Bryan Walsh, author of the new book End Times, which looks at the existential threats which plague our planet, explained in his new book: “But of course those 91 people did not die last year and it’s unlikely that 91 people will be killed by an asteroid next year.”

The figure will slowly build up over hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years, until all of them are wiped out at once.

Mr Walsh continued: “It means that at some point – unless we develop an impregnable asteroid defence system – we can expect that millions or even billions of people will die in one major impact event.

Asteroid warning: Billions of people will die in asteroid impact – shock warning (Image: GETTY)

NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year that a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit (Image: GETTY)

“Average that death toll over the very long period of time that’s likely to pass before that asteroid strike, and you get 91 deaths a year.”

While the chances of a major asteroid hitting Earth are small – NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year that a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit – the devastating prospect is not impossible.

This is why there are now plans in the pipeline which could help Earth from asteroids.

NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu, where its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft arrived last year.

READ MORE: Asteroid shock: Space rock collision ‘triggered ice age on Earth

“It means that at some point we can expect that millions or even billions of people will die” (Image: GETTY)

Part of the reason NASA is sending the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft there is to gather more information about the space rock which is 500 metres in length.

NASA fears that the asteroid, which has the potential to wipe out a country on Earth, could hit our planet within the next 120 years, with the next close flyby in 2135.

The mission will give vital information on how to deflect asteroids from their collision course with Earth.

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Asteroid facts (Image: EXPRESS)

But NASA reiterates that while there is a small chance Earth could be impacted, “over millions of years, of all of the planets, Bennu is most likely to hit Venus.”

The ESA has invested £21million in projects such as the Human Exploration Research Analog (Hera) mission, which will study the Didymos binary asteroid, set to fly past Earth in 2022.

Studies such as Hera will help the ESA better understand how it can protect our planet from killer asteroid strikes.

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