Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer, said that governments should allocate bigger budgets for their countries’ anti-asteroid solutions. Johnson believes that an asteroid strike has the potential to be the most destructive natural disaster to hit Earth.

Before handling NASA’s planetary defense, Johnson was the Near-Earth Object Programs Executive for NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division. Given his background, Johnson certainly knows a lot about the nature of asteroids and just how dangerous they can be for Earth.

With this in mind, Johnson strongly believes that countries should be worried about an imminent asteroid strike on the planet.

As previous reports have shown, asteroids have the potential to wipe out entire cities depending on their size. Those that are over a kilometer long, on the other hand, can take out the entire planet by triggering a series of destructive events.

“In the order of things people should be worried about, near-Earth objects isn’t highest on the list,” Johnson said, according to Express. “But it does have the potential to be the most devastating natural disaster known to man.”

Due to this, Johnson is urging governments of different countries to allocate more resources for planetary defense. No matter how much it takes, Johnson said it would be worth it as long as the governments are able to prevent a destructive impact event from happening.

The NASA official noted that governments should focus their resources on developing systems that are capable of accurately detecting asteroids before they come close to Earth. This way, space agencies will have enough time to execute the proper measures to deflect the asteroid to keep it from colliding with the planet. This would be a viable solution especially since NASA has already admitted it sometimes fails to detect approaching asteroids.

“All the money would be worthwhile if it prevents an event that could take hundreds of billions to recover from – of we are even able to recover,” Johnson said.

“It’s definitely worth governments spending a bit of their treasure to find these things ahead of time, because you can’t do anything unless you find them,” he added.

Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. NASA