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.

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia and Philippines end losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Monday with stocks in Indonesia and Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. The Indonesian stock index closed up ... …

  • 2 coast guard men, village chief, abducted in Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Police say gunmen clad in military uniform have abducted two Philippine coast guard personnel and a village chief on a southern island then sped away in two motorboats. …

  • Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military
    Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military

    A Filipino on the United States' list of most wanted "terrorists" has been killed in a firefight in the southern Philippines, Muslim rebel leaders and the military said Monday. Abdul Basit Usman was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's biggest rebel group, its vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said. Security forces had been hunting Usman since he escaped from a January police raid that killed Malaysian …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia ends 7-day losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares mostly traded mixed on Monday, with Indonesia and the Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. Indonesian stock index rose 1.3 percent after ... …

  • Philippines says Islamist militant was killed by followers

    The Philippines' most wanted Islamist militant, whose death at the weekend could boost peace efforts in the country's south, was killed by his own bodyguards in pursuit of a bounty offered by the United States, the head of the military said on Monday. Abdul Basit Usman, a militant with strong al Qaeda links who was blamed for numerous bomb attacks in the southern Philippines, had been hunted by security forces since 2002. "There was in-fighting among his group," General Gregorio Pio Catapang …

  • EM ASIA FX-Firm dollar, weak China factory survey hurt Asia FX

    * Won falls on weak exports, PMI; mkt wary of intervention * Rupiah down on bonds, NDFs; Indonesia's Q1 GDP eyed * Philippine peso lowest in more than a month (Adds text, updates prices) By Jongwoo Cheon ... …

  • Philippine military chief confirms wanted militant killed

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military chief confirmed Monday that wanted Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman, who has links to the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and is a suspect in deadly bomb attacks in the south, has been killed. …

  • PSC sports venues deteriorating – COA
    PSC sports venues deteriorating – COA

    The Commission on Audit (COA) has noted the sorry state of the country’s sports venues despite supposedly receiving sufficient funds from the government. It reported that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) got an additional budget of P626.563 million in 2013 alone but failed to maintain and upgrade the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Malate, Manila and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City. This, according to the COA report, is already a disadvantage to the country’s athletes. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options