Earth is 10x more likely to be hit by asteroids than what we previously thought

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We’ve always known that there is a chance of an asteroid hitting Earth in the distant future, but we weren’t completely sure of how high the risks were, until now. Well, guess what? We are actually 10 times more likely to be attacked by an asteroid than what we previously thought, according to new research. Basically, we need to improve our early detection capabilities just in case something is out there aiming for our heads, because more than likely, we would not survive the attack if it were to ever occur.

Researchers usually have a good track record of spotting asteroids roaming about in outer space. This is mainly because NASA looks for asteroids 100 feet wide and bigger. But things took a striking turn when an asteroid exploded over Russia earlier in the year. Now researchers are realizing that smaller asteroids are insanely powerful and thus should be tracked.

“Luckily, most of the kinetic energy was absorbed by the atmosphere,” says Ji?í Borovi?ka, an asteroid researcher at the Astronomical Institute, part of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Ond?ejov, near Prague. ”A more solid rock that might have blasted closer to the ground would have caused considerably more damage.”

The meteor that exploded over Russia was 64 feet wide, yet it exploded with the force of 40 Hiroshima-type atom bombs. Now, imagine if that meteor had managed to strike Earth? It would have been very devastating.

It is actually based on analysis of the meteor that exploded over Russia that researchers were able to determine the 10x-more-likely-to-be-hit number.

Let’s hope scientists and researchers come up with a plan to better track smaller asteroids before we go the way of the dinosaurs.

[via Nature.com]

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3 comments

  1. kevbo

    Hmm. From reading this and the linked article, it appears that this new ’10x more likely’ prediction was derived from analyzing video from the asteroid which landed in Russia in February. Isn’t that kind of like using data collected over the past 60 out of 4.5 billion years to predict future weather patterns?

    I smell Al Gore behind this. I guess he must need a third career; inventing the internet and inventing man made global warming isn’t enough for that saviour of mankind.