Despite our best efforts to identify potential asteroid strikes that could wreak havoc on Earth, astronomers are now warning that debris from giant comets could pose an even more dangerous threat to the planet.
In an article in the Royal Astronomical Society journal, researchers explained that hundreds of massive comets have been observed in our distant solar system over the last two decades.
On rare occasions when these comets enter the gravitational field of other planets, they could be deflected in the direction of Earth and, in turn, crumble into a huge field of debris due to the sun.
Should such an event occur, they warn, the onslaught of debris on the planet would be devastating.
"The disintegration of such giant comets would produce intermittent but prolonged periods of bombardment lasting up to 100,000 years," researchers said in the Royal Astronomical Society journal.
Incredibly, the astronomers noted that the debris field from just one giant comet would surpass the mass of every near-Earth asteroid observed to date.
Such events have been credited with possibly both starting life on Earth, via water and organic materials, and wiping out the dinosaurs.
Just when you thought there was enough to worry about, now we've got giant comet debris fields to add to the list.