Astronomers believe that an unknown number of asteroids can fly towards Earth, which are hidden by the bright light of the Sun, which means they are difficult to detect.
February 15 this year marks exactly 10 years since the largest asteroid hit the Earth in the last 100 years. It was the so-called Chelyabinsk meteorite with a diameter of 20 meters, but scientists did not see how it was approaching the planet. When it exploded in the atmosphere and its fragments fell to Earth, it created a shock wave as strong as the 35 atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima, injuring more than 1,600 people. Why was the asteroid not seen in advance? It was just hidden by the bright light of our Sun. And scientists believe that there are a lot of the same invisible asteroids, and all of them can fall on the planet at any moment, writes the Daily Mail.
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Scientists warn that an unknown number of space rocks may be heading towards Earth and cannot be detected in advance. According to Richard Moissle of the European Space Agency, asteroids like the one that fell in Russia in 2013 hit Earth about every 50 to 100 years. But their unexpected appearance could have been avoided thanks to their early detection. But such asteroids remain invisible due to the fact that bright sunlight hides them.
So how can astronomers detect these invisible asteroids? The European Space Agency is set to send a new NEOMIR observatory into space later this decade, which will act as an early warning system to detect near-Earth asteroids that are heading towards Earth. This observatory will be equipped with an infrared telescope that will be able to detect asteroids 20 meters or more in size, which are currently obscured by the light of the Sun. Launched in 2026, NASA’s NEO Surveyor space observatory will be another tool for detecting as yet unseen asteroids.
Scientists believe that it will be easier to detect much larger asteroids that fly from the direction of the Sun. Firstly, the larger the asteroid, the fewer of them in the solar system, and secondly, large asteroids are easier to detect. According to NASA, almost all near-Earth asteroids with a diameter of more than 1 km have already been discovered. According to Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, USA, technology does not stand still, and therefore telescopes can find more and more yet unknown near-Earth asteroids.
According to NASA, there are more than 26,000 near-Earth asteroids that are constantly approaching the Earth, but only 10,000 of them are larger than 140 m. million km are considered potentially dangerous for our planet.
Some asteroids can also fly by Earth undetected due to the planet’s rotation, which makes these space rocks appear to be barely moving, making them difficult to detect, scientists say. Therefore, such asteroids seem to be motionless objects for early detection of asteroids on Earth, which means that these technologies need to be improved, scientists say.
As Focus already wrote , it became known where the space rock actually landed , which fell to Earth on Monday, February 13th.