Every so often asteroids and comets (Near-Earth Objects to those familiar with the jargon) slam into Earth and wipe out whoever or whatever is in the vicinity (and often beyond); they just don’t do it very often (although the Tunguska event is within recent human history). The bad news is that it’s going to happen again and it could be a whole lot worse than Tunguska. Cue a group of scientists who are preparing to do battle, whom Popular Mechanics dubs “Asteroid Hunters”:
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…The Tunguska asteroid would have leveled a large city and its surroundings. The example most often given is metropolitan London. But the threat of that actually happening in the near future isn’t keeping anyone up at night. The occurrence of large asteroid impacts is rare, and the vast majority of the Earth’s surface is unpopulated — with 71 percent covered by water — so even if a large asteroid should appear suddenly, the odds are it won’t strike civilization.