Bridenstine acknowledged "the giggle factor", the dismissive response the topic has been met with in the past, at the start of his keynote remarks at the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference in College Park, Maryland.
Although it is not yet clear where the asteroid might hit, experts will need to account for as many eventualities as possible. By studying the near-Earth asteroid, scientists are hoping to glimpse more information about asteroids that could impact Earth as well as how planets formed and life began.
"We know for a fact that the dinosaurs did not have a space program".
NASA is conducting planetary defense drills to see what would happen if an apocalyptic space rock was heading straight for Earth.More news: James Milner sends message to Liverpool FC squad ahead of Newcastle clash
Bridenstine knows the perils of asteroid strikes all too well.
The latter event, the Chelyabinsk meteor, exploded in the sky over Russian Federation, sending out heat and shock waves that blew out windows, injured hundreds of people and set off alarms over a large area. It "released the energy equivalent of around 440,000 tons of TNT", according to NASA.
Bridenstine said we mustn't think asteroids are merely the stuff of Hollywood movies like Deep Impact. "But they are not". They want more global partners that will join them in this effort.
Bridenstine highlighted the scientific importance of both of these missions but added that planetary defense is also an important component. "It's up to us to make sure that we are characterising, detecting, tracking all of the near-earth objects that could be a threat to the world".More news: News details emerge of failed plot to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine while speaking to the International Planetary Defense Conference in Washington DC warned that meteors are a very serious threat to Earth.
Every two years, asteroid experts meet and act out, but not in the way Morgan Freeman or Bruce Willis might, how someone in a role such as "national government", "astronomer", "space agency" and "civil protection officer" might respond when faced with a cataclysmic event sufficient enough that it could throw Earth back into the dark ages.
The group have been monitoring the skies for more than 20 years looking for potentially threatening NEOs which are defined as any object that comes within 50 million kilometres of the Earth.
There are approximately 18,000 known NEOs and that number is constantly growing.More news: OnePlus 7 Pro renders and purported specs revealed