Throwback: When a NASA scientist said humans cannot do anything to stop doomsday asteroid

Robert Frost claimed that no current human technologies are capable to stop approaching doomsday asteroids

asteroid in a collision course
Representational image of asteroids approaching the earth Pixabay

Several experts including popular space scientist Dr Iain McDonald and physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson have several times predicted that the earth will face an inevitable doomsday asteroid hit one day or the other.

As per these experts, devastating events like asteroid hits are not confined to the past, and such scenarios will happen in the future too. In order to combat such threats from deep space, NASA is now busy developing a planetary defence weapon to change the collision trajectory of rogue space bodies.

What did Robert Frost say?

However, a few years back, Robert Frost, an instructor and flight controller at NASA had claimed that humanity is not capable of protecting the earth from dangerous asteroids that may be in a collision course. Forst made these remarks on Quora when one of the readers asked him whether Earth can be saved from dangerous space bodies.

"No. Nothing could be done at the present time or in the near future. Any designs on how to prevent such an event are in the speculation and conjecture stages. If it was determined that a massive asteroid was going to hit the Earth in the next six months, we would all be dead in six months," wrote Robert Frost.

Frost pointed out at two things to protect earth

As per Frost, there are two things humans can do to protect the earth from deadly asteroids; destroying the asteroid or deflecting it from its original trajectory. However, the NASA employee made it clear that current human techniques will not work with giant asteroids that wiped off dinosaurs from the planet around 65 million years ago.

"Estimates for the size of Chicxulub, the asteroid that may have killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, range from 3 miles (5 km) across to 12 miles (19 km) across. Destroying such a massive object would require an immense amount of energy. We currently have neither the capability to destroy such an object nor the capability to reach it far enough away from Earth to inflict such a blow," added Frost.

A few months back, a study conducted by experts at the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan had suggested that asteroids lurking in the asteroid belt could one day approach the earth for a potential collision. The research report also added that humans will have less time to take defensive measures if an asteroid from the asteroid belt gets ejected from its orbit.

Related topics : Asteroid Nasa