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Climate and Environment

It's Asteroid Day, A Good Time To Reflect On The Next Inevitable Impact

A bright white line streaks across a darkened sky over a barren, reddish-brown landscape.
JAXA's Hayabusa-2 probe's sample drop to earth after landing on and gathering material from an asteroid some 300 million kilometres from Earth is seen from Coober Pedy in South Australia on December 6, 2020.
(Morgan Sette
AFP via Getty Images)
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Thursday is International Asteroid Day, an annual event intended to raise awareness about the potential hazards that asteroids pose to our planet.

It's also the anniversary of the Tunguska event, a massive 1908 explosion in the skies above Siberia. The event has been described as the largest asteroid impact in recorded history, although no crater was ever found.

"It was probably something on the order of 30 meters in size, because it did not reach the ground and it literally flattened the forest in the area of, like, more than 2,000 square kilometers," said Maria Brozovic, a physicist at NASA.

Brozovic said there are no reports of any threatening asteroids heading our way right now.

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Bruce Betts, the chief scientist at The Planetary Society, said people should learn more about these space rocks.

"It may be tomorrow, it may be next year, it may be 100 years, but there will be another dangerous impact," he said.

An IMAX movie about asteroids and how scientists track them opened this week. Asteroid Hunters 3D is playing now at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

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