Earth threatened by 6,200 potentially hazardous asteroids, new study shows

As many as 6,200 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) are orbiting close to Earth, a new survey by Nasa has revealed.

The PHAs are considered robust enough to survive the passage through Earth's atmosphere. If they were to collide with Earth they could cause damage on a large scale, experts warn.

Positions of a simulated population of PHAs are shown in bright orange and Earth's orbit in green. Photo: Nasa

In the most detailed study of PHAs yet researchers used infrared scans from Nasa’s 16-inch WISE telescope to identify 4,700 asteroids – plus or minus 1500 – that come within five million miles of Earth’s orbit.

An image released by Nasa shows the distribution of the PHAs - with every orange dot representing an asteroid measuring 330 feet (100 metres) or more that is in orbit.

Only 20% to 30% of these objects have previously been charted.



Although there is no cause for immediate alarm, Nasa said the information could prepare us for future disasters.

Lindley Johnson, programme scientist for the Near-Earth Object Observation said: “The NEOWISE analysis shows us we've made a good start at finding those objects that truly represent an impact hazard to Earth.

“But we've many more to find, and it will take a concerted effort during the next couple of decades to find all of them that could do serious damage or be a mission destination in the future.”


                      [Related link: Time-lapse footage shows how the Earth looks from space]



Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California added: “It turned out to be a huge bonus.

“Everything we can learn about these objects helps us understand their origins and fate. Our team was surprised to find the overabundance of low-inclination PHAs.

“Because they will tend to make more close approaches to Earth, these targets can provide the best opportunities for the next generation of human and robotic exploration.”

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute
    Philippines seeks stronger commitment from U.S. in South China Sea dispute

    The Philippines is seeking a "stronger commitment" from the United States to help its ally, the defence minister said on Monday, as China asserts its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew …

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options