Can Asteroids pose a threat to Earth? NASA expert reveals the truth | Tech News

Can Asteroids pose a threat to Earth? NASA expert reveals the truth

NASA scientist says that asteroids have hit the Earth in its long history and it can happen again.

| Updated on: Jul 29 2023, 18:07 IST
Close encounters soon! NASA tracks 5 asteroids hurtling towards Earth
1/5 Asteroid 2020 PP1 - Asteroid 2020 PP1, is currently heading towards Earth and will get very close to Earth tomorrow, July 28. The asteroid is nearly the size of a house with a width of 52 feet. It is travelling at almost 14641 kilometers per hour and will make its closest approach at 6.5 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
2/5 2021 BD3 – 2021 BD3, which is nearly 80 feet wide, is heading for Earth and will also make a close approach on July 30. It is moving at a blistering speed of 31998 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a close distance of 5.3 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 OQ2 – Yet another asteroid named Asteroid 2023 OQ2 will make its closest approach to Earth on July 30. In terms of size, it is almost 41 feet wide. As per NASA, it will come as close as 1.5 million kilometers and is already moving at a speed of 13544 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2016 AW65 – Asteroid 2016 AW65 will make its extremely close approach to the planet on July 31. The asteroid, with a width of around 180 feet, will approach at a distance of 6.3 million kilometers and a speed of nearly 20583 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
5/5 Asteroid 2023 OF1 – Asteroid 2023 OF1, with a width of nearly 150 feet, will make its closest approach to Earth on August 2. The space rock is already rushing towards Earth at a speed of 38661 kilometers per hour and will miss the planet by a distance of 6.7 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
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“Asteroids have hit Earth over the course of its history, and it will happen again,” says NASA expert. (Pixabay)

Do you think asteroids will ever hit the Earth? After all, there are many instances of asteroids smashing into Earth, or exploding in its atmosphere, a long time ago in the past and very much so recently too - just recall the recent Chelyabinsk asteroid.

However, at the moment, NASA says that there are no known impact threats from asteroids. Having said that, tiny meteorites break into Earth's atmosphere all the time and hit the ground.

One just hit a woman in the chest while she was having coffee in her balcony! It was small and had hit the roof before falling on her.

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What do scientists say?

Dr. Kelly Fast, planetary defense expert and a manager in NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office explains. Dr. Fast said, “Asteroids have hit Earth over the course of its history, and it will happen again.”

According to the report by NASA, space dust, meteoroids, and even small asteroids hit Earth all the time and they create the meteors or “shooting stars” that you see as they disintegrate in the atmosphere. But impacts of asteroids that affect the surface are much rarer and happen on time scales of hundreds to thousands to millions of years.

However, there are asteroids that escape detection and the threat stems from them. For instance, just a few weeks ago, an asteroid passed threateningly close to Earth and no one even knew about it till it had passed our planet.

The only solution available is the early detection of asteroids that pose a threat to Earth is crucial. This will provide sufficient warning and help in taking measures against it if needed.

Fortunately, larger asteroids are more readily detectable, and the number of such asteroids in our solar system is relatively smaller, which is reassuring.

At the moment, NASA has experimented with its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and successfully managed to change the orbit of an asteroid in motion. Asteroid Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos were targeted by NASA. A spacecraft was crashed into the latter and this altered their course appreciably. However, that required an immense amount of time and preparation, something that may not be available when the next asteroid catches astronomers by surprise.

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First Published Date: 29 Jul, 18:07 IST