SAN JOSE, Calif. — With nothing less at stake than the future of planet Earth, NASA has decided to crowdsource ideas to detect and track asteroids that have the potential to wipe out life as we know it.

After a previously undetected, 65-foot-wide asteroid exploded over Russia in February 2013, unleashing the force of 500,000 tons of TNT, NASA launched a series of contests for smart folks around the globe to come up with ways to keep an eye on asteroids that could threaten Earth.

Currently, NASA estimates that only 1 percent of the millions of asteroids hurtling around our solar system have been found.

So NASA calls the series of contests that make up the Asteroid Grand Challenge “a broad call to action” to defend Earth against any number of asteroids that could be bearing down on us right this instant.

“Good ideas can come from anywhere,” said Ben Burress, staff astronomer at Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center, which is not affiliated with NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge. “There are millions of asteroids we don’t know about, so the idea of more information really is better. Are we going to be hit? Yes. The question is, when and by how big of an asteroid?”

In a video announcing the series of contests, a NASA narrator says, “Asteroid hunting is an activity everyone can get involved with, whether it’s writing computer code, building hardware, making observations through a telescope. Survival is its own reward. It’s up to each of us to protect our planet from asteroids.”

And in a throw down to all citizens of Earth, the narrator says, “The dinosaurs would have cared if they knew about this problem.”

NASA first invited what it calls “citizen scientists” to join the search for killer asteroids in March at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, during a session titled, “Are We Smarter than the Dinosaurs?”

On Friday, NASA ended the third contest of its competition to create an algorithm to detect hidden asteroids. No fewer than 422 people from 63 countries submitted solutions.

In all, NASA plans to award $35,000 this year to people with good ideas.

NASA plans 10 contests this year. Asked how long the entire Asteroid Grand Challenge will last, Ramsey said, “Until the problem’s solved.”