Don't make any long term plans, because next week the earth is going to be destroyed by a gigantic asteroid. That's the gloomy prediction of US televangelist Pat Robertson, who made the announcement on his TV show. Robertson believes Jesus prophesied this Extinction Level Event (ELE) and urges the public to buy his book, "The End of the Age", to find out more.
"I wrote a book," he says. "It deals with an asteroid hitting the Earth. I don't see anything else that fulfills the prophetic words of Jesus Christ other than an asteroid strike. There isn't anything that will cause the seas to roil, that will, you know, cause the skies to darken, the moon and the sun not to give their light, the nations terrified on Earth of what's happening."
Interestingly, Robertson also claims an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs – though how this squares with his Creationist beliefs is unclear. And, while astronomers have not issued any warnings of imminent world destruction, they do now believe the earth is struck by large asteroids far more frequently than was previously thought.
At a conference at Seattle's Museum of Flight last week, three astronauts presented data showing the surprising regularity of large asteroid strikes. US Shuttle and Soyuz Astronaut Dr. Ed Lu, NASA Astronaut Tom Jones and Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders revealed that since 2000 a total of 26 nuclear-sized explosions have occurred on earth as a result of asteroid impact. Their explosive energy ranged from 1-600 kilotons. One of the most notable was the asteroid strike at Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 which injured over 1,200 people. The bomb which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons.
Lu, now co-founder and CEO of the B612 Foundation, warned:
"While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially-operated observatories. Because we don't know where or when the next major impact will occur, the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid has been blind luck."
Towards the end of his broadcast, Robertson – who has past form when it comes to making doomsday prophecies - appears to backtrack somewhat from his eye-catching claim that the earth will be wiped out next week.
"It could be next week, it could be 1,000 years from now. But nevertheless, we want to be ready whenever the Lord says, 'I'm wrapping it up, and it's time to come home.'"