An as­ter­oid named 2019 OK zipped past Earth a few weeks ago, miss­ing it by just 70 000km.

For­mer Amer­i­can de­fence sec­re­tary Wil­liam Cohen warned that an as­ter­oid col­li­sion with our planet had the po­ten­tial to wipe out hu­man­ity.

Earth is in a con­stant game of ce­les­tial bumper cars, col­lid­ing with and oblit­er­at­ing the rel­a­tively small space rocks that cross its path. But there’s no doubt that some­time in the fu­ture our world will suf­fer an­other dis­as­trous cos­mic im­pact and un­less we pre­pare for it we’ll surely be­come ex­tinct like the di­nosaurs of days gone by. FAROUK ARAIE, JO­HAN­NES­BURG

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