06:46 GMT17 January 2021
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    While only asteroids on a direct collision course with Earth pose a real threat to our planet, humanity should nevertheless prepare for this eventuality, according to a NASA planetary defence officer.

    As scientists strive to devise a way to deal with gigantic rocks hurling through space in the vicinity of our planet, NASA planetary defence officer Lindley Johnson warned that mankind shouldn’t worry about the expense incurred in the pursuit of this goal, the Daily Express reports.

    In an interview with journalist Bryan Walsh for his recently released book “End Times”, the paper says that asteroids might not be top of the list of threats humanity has to contend with, but that the danger posed by them should not be ignored.

    "In the order of things people should be worried about, Near Earth Objects isn’t highest on the list. But it does have the potential to be the most devastating natural disaster known to man," Johnson said, as quoted by the newspaper.

    He suggested that allocating additional funds toward dealing with this so far hypothetical threat would be prudent, because “all the money would be worthwhile if it prevents an event that could take hundreds of billions of dollars to recover from – if we are even able to recover.”

    "It’s definitely worth governments spending a bit of their treasure to find these things ahead of time, because you can’t do anything unless you find them," he remarked.

    Previously, Johnson pointed out that while there are plenty of asteroids passing in the vicinity of our planet, it is the ones on a direct collision course with Earth that would pose a real threat, and mankind should prepare for that eventuality.

    News of this development comes as NASA and the ESA prepare to launch a joint mission to a binary asteroid Didymos 65803 in order to test a new drilling method that might allow humans to alter the trajectories of dangerous space rocks.


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