In response authorities spend considerable resources tracking known asteroids and searching for new ones.
The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which wiped out the dinosaurs, is believed by many scientists to have been caused by an asteroid impact.
As a result there are fears a new strike could prove equally devastating.
NASA tracks major asteroids in the vicinity of Earth to check whether they are likely to collide and cause damage.
NASA astronaut reveals shock at close encounter in Apollo mission [ANALYSIS]
Apollo astronaut’s close encounter ‘It came down through our altitude’ [ANALYSIS]
Scientists panic after NASA failed to pick up asteroid threat [SCIENCE]