Tens of millions of powerful asteroids pose threat to existence of earth, scientists say

Researchers revealed that these asteroids have the power of a nuclear bomb, and a collision will trigger devastation at least on a regional scale

asteroid collision
Asteroid collision NASA

It was around 65 million years back that a doomsday asteroid hit the earth and caused destruction in all nooks of the planet. This impact from deep space was so powerful that it wiped out dinosaurs from the surface of the blue planet. As science advanced, humans started tracking near-earth objects (NEO), and as per current knowledge, NASA, the United States space agency has spotted more than 21,000 dangerous asteroids.

However, a team of astronomers who conducts asteroid day on June 30 every year has suggested that there could be tens of millions of powerful asteroids in the solar system that may pose threat to the existence of life on earth. Scientists also added that these asteroids measuring at least 10 meters are as powerful as a nuclear bomb and if they hit the earth then there will be devastation at least on a regional scale.

"There are several tens of millions of NEOs larger than 10 meters in size that would have energy larger than a small nuclear weapon if they entered the Earth's atmosphere, and we have identified just 21,443, as of November 05, 2019. These bodies are a leftover matter from the formation of planets and range in size from a few meters to tens of kilometres. As with Earth, NEOs orbit the Sun and sometimes they come dangerously close or cross Earth's trajectory – potentially causing impacts," said the asteroid day scientists in a recent press release.

Scientists also suggested that devastating asteroid hits have happened in the past, and such events will occur in the future too. The team also urged space agencies like NASA and ESA to adopt effective asteroid protection plans to save the earth from deep space threats. Experts also talked about the vitality of early detection of dangerous asteroids so that planetary defence weapons can be used to deflect them from its collision course.

A few weeks back, a study conducted by experts at the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan found that space rocks lurking in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars could one day head towards earth. The study team also added that humans will get very little time to react if such an asteroid starts heading towards the earth.

This article was first published on November 7, 2019
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