6 times the Earth was smashed to bits
An asteroid big enough to destroy an entire city hits Earth once every hundred years — but smaller impacts happen all the time.
In December last year a group of more than 100 prominent physicists, artists and business leaders lead by Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May co-signed a declaration demanding increased use of technology to detect and track near-Earth asteroids.
Their mission is to remind us why asteroid impacts matter. It’s a more difficult job than you might expect — large asteroid impacts are regular, but compared to human lifespans relatively rare. The largest impact in living memory took place in Tunguska, Russia way back in 1908. The asteroid exploded four to six miles above the Earth’s surface but was still powerful enough to destroy an area roughly 800 square miles in size. Shockwaves were felt as far away as the UK.