“Are We Overdue?” NASA –‘Potentially Hazardous’ Skyscraper-Size Asteroid Speeding Towards Earth (WATCH Video)

 
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Skyscraper-sizied asteroid VR12, 287 meters long, is nearing our Earth with every passing second as the terrifying combination of space rock, ice and metal speeds through the our Solar System. VR12 is one of 1,882 asteroids that NASA describes as 'potentially hazardous’ as it makes its approach to the planet at speeds of 6.3 kilometers per second, or 22,680 kmh within 3.8 Lunar Distances of our planet, where one LD is the average distance between Earth and the Moon. Astronomers expect the asteroid from the depths of space to skim past the planet tomorrow, March 7 around 7.53 am EST . NASA expects the asteroid to approach Earth within 0.09 AU, or 1,346,380 km.


NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) astronomers categories “Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) as space rocks bigger than 100 meters in diameter, which run the risk of coming closer to Earth than 0.05 AU, or 7,479,894 kilometers.

NASA: “Every day, Earth is bombarded with more than 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles. About once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilisation comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences.”
The first asteroid was Ceres, discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. There are currently over 600,000 known asteroids in our solar system. Most asteroids are found orbiting in the Asteroid Belt, a series of rings located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

 

Sixty Five million years ago, the most famous asteroid in history slammed into Earth and most likely exterminated the dinosaurs. Disconcertingly, we are no less likely to be to hit by an asteroid today than our ancient reptilian counterparts were — but luckily we have helpful tools at our disposal.

The impact occurred 65 million years ago when an asteroid approximately 12 kilometers (7 miles) wide slammed into Earth. The collision took place near what is now the Yucatán peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. The asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, a mass extinction that erased up to 75 percent of all plant and animal species.
 

A 100-meter asteroid (with the same composition and speed as the 10-meter asteroid) would release 1000 Hiroshimas. An asteroid with a diameter of one kilometer would do much greater damage, and an asteroid of 10 kilometers would be like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. It would sterilize an entire continent and cause major global damage.

On average, one of these huge 10-kilometer asteroids strikes Earth every 50 million years, and the last one was 65 million years ago — meaning we are now overdue. We know about most asteroids of this size in the Solar System – we’ve studied their orbits, their characteristics, and we can predict their chance of impact. But as the asteroids get smaller, the less we know of them.

The ESO team estimates that about 70–80% of asteroids from 500 meters to 1 kilometers in diameter are known, but only about 10% of asteroids 100 meters  in diameter are known. The International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) is working to improve these numbers.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA and ESO

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