Belfast Telegraph

QUB prof warns asteroid hit a matter of time

By Adrian Rutherford

An asteroid strike on Earth is just a matter of time, a scientist has warned.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen's University said that it was a case of when - rather than if - an asteroid collision happens.

Prof Fitzsimmons highlighted the threat for Asteroid Day, a global event next Friday.

On June 30, 1908, a small asteroid exploded over Tunguska in Siberia and devastated around 800 square miles.

Prof Fitzsimmons warned that a similar, unexpected strike in today's world could easily destroy a major city, and a larger asteroid could be even more dangerous. "Astronomers find near-Earth asteroids every day and most are harmless," he added.

"But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them."

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