NASA issues warning on asteroids approaching Earth undetected

    NASA found that asteroids can "sneak up" on Earth by bypassing the network of telescopes that are searching open space for them.
    By HT TECH
    | Updated on Jan 17 2022, 10:38 AM IST
    NASA issues warning on devastating asteroids that may sneak up on earth undetected.
    NASA issues warning on devastating asteroids that may sneak up on earth undetected. (NASA)
    NASA issues warning on devastating asteroids that may sneak up on earth undetected.
    NASA issues warning on devastating asteroids that may sneak up on earth undetected. (NASA)

    A group of astronomers funded by the NASA have warned that dangerous asteroids may be heading towards Earth and that these can go totally undetected due to a blind spot in the sky. These asteroids can bypass the network of computerised telescopes and "sneak up" on Earth because of the way our planet rotates and orbits the sun.

    As reported by The Telegraph, the telescope's algorithm has been created to alert astronomers of asteroids and other moving objects. These are coded in a way that avoids raising false alarms when supernovas happen. While the objects heading towards Earth seem to drift west in the sky due to the planet's eastward spin on its axis, asteroids appear stationary as it approaches from the eastern sky.

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    50% of impactors heading to Earth from the east are difficult to detect

    The study published in the journal Icarus, says that 50 percent of impactors heading to Earth from the east are thought to experience slow motion, making them hard to detect. Hence, the team wrote: "Surveys should take extra care when surveying the sky in this direction, and aggressively follow up new slow-moving objects."

    But despite the big revelation, Professor Richard Wainscoat, who led the research team at the University of Hawaii, said that people "shouldn’t lose sleep". He said that if they find something that is going to hit the earth, they would like to do something about it. He said, "It’s not a matter of finding them and sitting there and letting it hit."

    Earlier in 2019, Earth had a "near miss" when a 100 metre asteroid darted past the planet only 43,000 miles away. The object was spotted only 24 hours earlier and the US Congress then instructed the US space agency to identify 90% of asteroids bigger than 140 metres that could destroy a large city if landed. Additionally, the agency also launched a heavy spaceship program last year to smash into the moonlet of a comet to knock it off course. Around 40 per cent of large asteroids that are closely approaching Earth have been catalogued, said Professor Wainscoat.

    Earlier a NASA report had warned at least five asteroids are approaching Earth this month - with one the size of a large building. However, there is no known threat of an asteroid colliding with Earth in the next century. The most hazardous asteroid in the solar system is named Bennu and there is a possibility it may strike Earth in the next 200 years.

    https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/nasa-issues-grim-warning-asteroids-25958966

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    First Published Date: 17 Jan, 09:49 AM IST
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