Asteroids and meteors of all sizes and shapes fly over the earth almost daily. Space agency NASA estimates that hundreds of tons of space debris and minerals are safely infiltrating the planet's atmosphere every day. Larger asteroids in wagon size are expected to hit Earth about once a year, causing small amounts of local damage. The real threat comes from many miles of asteroids that astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said could mean an end to humanity.
Dr. Tyson, 60, is director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and host of the StarTalk science podcast.
In a recent episode of the popular podcast titled Cosmic Queries – Asteroids and Comets, the astrophysicist discussed the threat posed by giant asteroids heading for Earth.
The episode also explored the possibility that asteroids brought the building blocks of life to a young earth billions of years ago.
The podcast was released on July 25 and included a guest appearance by science writer and cosmochemist Natalie Starkey.
Dr. Tyson said, "It is a fascinating and underestimated fact that asteroids and comets were the bringer of life, if not the ingredients of life, but perhaps even life itself.
READ MORE: How often do asteroids strike the earth? What is the risk?
"And yet, they can also serve as heralds of fate for the very life they have brought to the planet."
When a monstrous asteroid hit Mexico in today's Mexico 65 million years ago, the Earth ended Force of impact the domination of dinosaurs over our planet.
The so-called Chicxulub asteroid struck during the Cretaceous-Tertiary period on the peninsula of Yucatan in western Mexico.
The asteroid left a 1
READ MORE: Watch the Great DESTROY Earth Asteroid in a Fiery Crash Simulation
It is believed that the killer strike triggered a global nuclear winter that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Dr. Starkey, who answered questions from the StarTalk audience, warned that future effects on this scale could bring humanity to a halt as we know it.
She said, "We may have come here only for comets and asteroids, and in the future we may even die of comets and asteroids.
"They could collide with us and, as you know, devastate all humanity.
READ MORE: A 2,700 MEGATON asteroid has a slim chance of hitting Earth in October.
to protect us in the future.
"We need to understand what these things are made of and what their orbits are, and understand so many details that we can protect the planet.
"I think everyone should be worried, but not worried. I do not think we have to worry about dying all in an asteroid crash tomorrow, though that could happen. "
According to NASA, an asteroid large enough to threaten human civilization appears" only once every few million years ".
There are currently no known asteroids or comets heading directly to Earth.