"Do not look up," but a space killer rock will come ... one day
The threat of a devastating comet strike, as seen in Netflix's hit movie "Don't Look Up," is taken seriously by scientists who are working in many ways to save us all, says Jonathan O'Callaghan, a space journalist.
Asteroids near Earth are common and it is likely that a large object will be on its way to hitting our planet at some point in the future.
It will be a one in 100 million year event, but sooner or later - given the thousands upon thousands of space rocks orbiting our solar system - an asteroid or giant comet with our name on it will flood the planet. Left in her hands, she will crash into the planet and almost all life on Earth will suffer the same fate that befell the dinosaurs 66 million years ago: extinction.
When that happens, we - or our distant descendants - will either be ready and wait to avoid the intruder, or we will not be ready and disaster will follow.
So is the film realistic? Earth has been hit by large asteroids in the past - which is why there are no large dinosaurs today. And it is bombarded every day by tons of dust and meteorites. It is certain that a "planet killer" will be written in the future (although it occurs at most once every 50 million years) - and this is taken much more seriously by international governments than shown in the film.
There are also plans to mitigate the possible consequences of an asteroid in the path of collision with Earth. These usually rely on the asteroid's course deviation, as trying to knock it down at the last minute is not feasible - it would require a lot of energy. The launch in November of NASA's DART mission, a technology testing mission, will further help shed light on how best to avoid asteroids threatening Earth.
Sources: The Times, The Conversation