Sep 6, 2022

Asteroids near Earth: are we in danger?

Posted by in category: space

Are near-Earth objects a threat to Earth?

An asteroid is a metallic or rocky body that orbits the Sun within the asteroid belt, a region of space between Mars and Jupiter.

Asteroids are believed to be remnants of the early formation of the solar system. They are often called “minor planets”, although they do not have an atmosphere. They can be the size of a dwarf planet, but they can also be as small as 6 feet (2 meters) in diameter —which is the case of the tiniest asteroid ever found, 2015 TC25.

Most asteroids are not that small. If it were to hit the Earth, a sufficiently large asteroid may have a higher chance of surviving the entrance to our atmosphere and impacting the ground.

Source: ESO

According to NASA, car-sized asteroids burn up in our atmosphere at least once per year. But suppose an asteroid is between around 82 feet (25 meters) and half a mile (1 kilometer) in diameter. In that case, the asteroid may be large enough that it does not completely burn up and has a greater chance of impacting the ground. If the asteroid were more than one-half mile (1 or 2 kilometers) in diameter, the impact could have a global effect.

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