Professor Stephen Hawking has issued a terrifying warning about the threat posed by apocalypse asteroids.
The physicist said doomsday space rocks are a threat to humanity and any other intelligent civilization that exists in our universe.
In a video produced by Asteroid Day, a “global movement” dedicated to protecting our species, Hawking said: “One of the major threats to intelligent life in our universe is high probability of an asteroid colliding with inhabited planets.”
Astronomer Patrick Michel said our solar system is packed full of gigantic space rocks, some of which are more than 1 kilometer (1,100 yards) in size.
We are tracking the movements of about 90 percent of these asteroids, which would wipe out humanity if they plowed into Earth.
This means there are a vast number of rogue rocks that could be on a collision course with our planet.
But these gigantic objects are not the only threat to our civilization.
Michel said: “We only know about 15 or 20 percent of the objects which are larger than a few hundred meters in size.
“If these bodies impact Earth, they can cause regional damage across a whole country or even a continent.”
There are several proposed ways to tackle asteroids. The first would involve a “gravity tractor,” which is essentially a spaceship designed to tug the rock onto a new path using its own gravitational pull.
Others would involve blasting the space rock with some sort of projectile to try to steer it onto a new course, or even blowing it up with a nuke.
However, this could backfire on humanity because it would cause radioactive rock fragments to rain down on the planet.
Astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker is an expert on asteroids. She discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which broke apart and spectacularly plunged into Jupiter.
She called for more study of doomsday space rocks.
“The more we learn about all of these objects,” she said, “the more we can be prepared for preventing an impact that would be dangerous to us.”