Should cities worry about “city-killer” asteroids?

Big cities around the world have plenty of problems to face without considering “city-killer” asteroids:

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, shows that “the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”

Since 2001, 26 atomic-bomb-scale explosions have occurred in remote locations around the world, far from populated areas, made evident by a nuclear weapons test warning network. In a recent press release B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu states:

“This network has detected 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, all of which are due to asteroid impacts. It shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare—but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought. The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck. The goal of the B612 Sentinel mission is to find and track asteroids decades before they hit Earth, allowing us to easily deflect them.”

I assume the typical big city would claim this is a national or international problem rather than a problem single cities can tackle. American cities alone, while wealthy by global standards, would have a hard time finding resources and expertise to address this.

At the same time, shouldn’t major cities have plans in place for something like this? The planning might not be too different than planning for a possible nuclear bomb attack, the sort of attack in a place like New York City that keeps President Obama occupied. Given a few days or few hours of warning, what could be done? Or perhaps some of these strikes might simply be so large that cities can’t worry too much about one and just have to play the odds, particularly when compared to other possible issues like natural disasters or civil unrest which might happen more frequently.

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