A group of scientists is seeking a standardized protocol for dealing with the possibility of an asteroid or comet striking the Earth, saying humans can do more than the dinosaurs ever could before a colossal impact precipitated their extinction 65 millions years ago.

The call comes as interest grows in the swarm of asteroids and comets that orbit the sun in the Earth’s immediate neighborhood. The concerns were sparked in part by several recent false alarms about impending impacts.

“In some sense, it’s something we know we need to worry about, but we need to decide at what level we need to worry about it — and that’s a question for everybody,” said Daniel D. Durda, a research scientist in the department of space studies of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

In recent weeks, a paper written by Durda and fellow scientists Clark R. Chapman and Robert E. Gold has been making the rounds among experts who study impact hazards. The goal, they write in the 19-page paper, is to encourage discussion of how to replace the “haphazard and unbalanced” way the world now addresses any potential impact.

“They are spot-on that this is a problem. They are also right on time in terms of this just now being recognized as serious enough a topic so as to go to the next step in terms of ‘what if,”’ said Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who developed a scale to rank the potential danger of an impact. “We have now overcome the giggle factor.”

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