There is nothing like a “close encounter of the asteroid kind” to captivate the public. The resulting effect is what yields profit for Hollywood studios that make movies of the sort where brave Americans take a space ship to an interloping rock, and plant explosives to blow the thing up just seconds before it reaches dear old Earth. (At least with the old Star Trek series the crew on such death-defying missions was international, if not the Captain.) It is part of why we find it easy to neglect planning for less exotic natural disasters, such as the destruction in Russia caused by a meteor the other day.