Recent data, and modelling of the interaction between asteroids and the atmosphere, has defined a complete size-frequency distribution for terrestrial impactors, from meteorite-sized objects up to kilometre-sized asteroids, for both the upper atmosphere and the Earth's surface. Although there remain significant uncertainties in the incidence of specific size-fractions of impactors, these estimates allow us to constrain the threat posed by impacts to human populations. It is clear that impacts remain a significant natural hazard, but uniquely, they are a threat that we can accurately predict, and take steps to avoid.
One contribution of 17 to a Triennial Issue ‘Astronomy and earth science’.
- © 2005 The Royal Society