NASA scientist’s ‘serious’ asteroid warning for Earth
Experts are warning the threat of an asteroid striking Earth may be more serious than previously thought.
James Garvin, chief scientist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, said his team had strong concerns that previous impact sites actually stretched tens of kilometres further than believed, Science.org reported.
“It would be in the range of serious crap happening,” he said bluntly.
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Garvin is presenting new research on asteroids at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas.
The research used new high-resolution satellite imagery, which he and his colleagues used to identify large rings around three impact craters.
Garvin suggested that each impact or ring was substantially more violent than previously thought.
He speculated they may have been 10 times more destructive than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated, enough to blow part of the planet’s atmosphere into space.
“Such topographic data permits reassessment of the role of such impacts in recent Earth History and presents implications for Planetary Defence,” the report reads.
But, not all experts were on board with the findings.
“I’m sceptical,” Planetary Dynamicist at the Southwest Research Institute, Bill Bottke, said.
“I want to see a lot more before I believe it.”
Planetary scientist at the University of Western Ontario, Gordon Osinski, added: “Those features are so subtle that I don’t think they say ‘big structural rim’.”
Garvin himself has admitted it is an extraordinary claim they are making.
“We haven’t proven anything,” he said.
He said more field work was needed before making any conclusions.
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