Unless we spend money to spot and prevent asteroids now,one might crash into Earth and destroy life as we know it, say some scientists Asteroids are bigger versions of the meteorites that race across the night sky. Most orbit the sun far from Earth and don’t threaten us. But there are also thousands whose orbits put them on a collision course with Earth. Buy $ 10 million a year for the next 25 years to locate most of the space rocks. By the time we spot a fatal one, the scientists say, we’ll have a way to change its course. Some scientists favor pushing asteroids off course with nuclear weapons. But the cost wouldn’t be cheap.
Is it worth it? Two things experts consider when judging any risk are: 1) how likely the event is:and 2) How bad the consequences if the event occurs. Experts think an asteroid big enough to destroy lots of life might strike Eart once every 500,000 years. Sounds pretty rare — but if one did fall, it would be the end of the world. “If we don’t take care of these big asteroids, they’ll take care of us,” says one scientist. “It’s that simple.”