ANU press release

The chances of the Earth being hit by a comet from beyond Pluto — à la Armageddon — are much lower than previously thought, according to new research by an ANU astronomer.

Using computer simulations and data from an American military telescope, Dr Paul Francis, from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Mt Stromlo, has found there are seven times fewer comets in our solar system than previously thought.

“I calculate that small comets, capable of destroying a city, only hit the Earth once every 40 million years or so,” Dr Francis said. “Big continent-busting comets, as shown in the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact, are rarer still, only hitting once every 150 million years or so. So I don't loose sleep over it, but you're still more likely to be killed by a comet than to win the jackpot at Lotto.”