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Nasa artist's impression of the asteroid belt surrounding the star Vega.

Leading scientists join calls to protect Earth from asteroids

Scientists and astronomers are calling for more action to prevent a devastating asteroid strike.

A hundred names, including famous faces such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, physicist Brian Cox and Astronomer Royal and rock guitarist Brian May are demanding action be taken to protect the Earth.They are calling for a rapid 100-fold increase in the discovery and tracking of near-Earth asteroids to 100,000 a year within a decade. There are a million asteroids in the Solar System with the potential to strike Earth, they said, but only 10,000 have been discovered.The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it becomes that the human race has been living on borrowed time.We are currently aware of less than 1% of objects comparable to the one that impacted at Tunguska, and nobody knows when the next big one will hit.It takes just one.– Brian May

They also want an Asteroid Day to be adopted on June 30 next year to highlight awareness and promote efforts to prevent an impact.On that date in 1908, around 800 square miles of forest in Tunguska, Siberia, was destroyed by an asteroid strike. Scientists believe a similar impact now could wipe out an entire city.The ancients were correct in their belief that the heavens and the motion of astronomical bodies affect life on Earth, just not in the way they imagined.Sometimes those heavenly bodies run into Earth. This is why we must make it our mission to find asteroids before they find us.– Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees

source: itv news

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