Is the asteroid threat for Earth real? Check the numbers | Tech News

Is the asteroid threat for Earth real? Check the numbers

Check out how many asteroids pass very close to Earth each year.

| Updated on: Aug 09 2023, 11:15 IST
Know how many dangerous asteroids get too close to Earth for comfort. (Pixabay)

Is the asteroid threat a mere figment of our imagination? Is the fear driven mostly by Hollywood movies like the Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck starrer Armageddon or the more recent Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence-starrer Don't Look Up? Well, you should know that these asteroids can actually be a huge hazard for Earth. The chances of an asteroid crashing on Earth are slim, but it has happened before on a regular basis causing the extinction of many species, most famously, that of dinosaurs. Yes, we have all heard about the ending of the era of dinosaurs due to a massive asteroid that hit the Earth's surface. It happened 65 million years ago and even as recently as 2013, an asteroid exploded over a Russian city causing injury to nearly 1000 people.

Asteroids of any size getting close to the Earth can have serious consequences. Even a 4-meter space rock travelling at a high speed is going to have a massive impact.

So, just check out the asteroid numbers and the threat they represent here.

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How many asteroids make close encounters to Earth?

According to Live Science report. There were 126asteroids that made a close approach to Earth in 2022 and around 50 in 2023 till now. It further mentions that, once a year, a four-meter asteroid could come as close as 2,600km to Earth's surface.

As per astronomers, any space object which passes closer than the moon, which is approx. 300,000 kilometres away, is termed a “close approach.” An asteroid bigger than 1 kilometre in diameter can have a massive impact on Earth, but such instances happen once every half a million years. In the meantime, we can expect a number of near-earth objects to make a close approach virtually on a daily basis. These are around a few hundred feet in width.

How can we analyze the threat of asteroids?

So far, over 95 percent of the asteroids have been discovered and rated in terms of threat and impact. However, 5 percent of those that have not been discovered are the focus of space agencies'' attention and every newly found space rock is thoroughly studied to assess its impact.

According to the Torino Scale, projected hazards up to a century ahead are rated on a scale of 0 (no risk) to 10 (certain collision). Till now, no such asteroids have been rated above 4.

The biggest headache is posed by asteroids that escape detection because they arrive from the side of the Sun that blocks out all view due to the glare. Just recently, an asteroid flew by Earth and astronomers found it two days after that.

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First Published Date: 09 Aug, 10:48 IST