(ReliableNews.org) – The idea of an asteroid hitting Earth and destroying the planet isn’t a made-up concern for Hollywood movies. In September 2022, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) investigation team carried out a mission to see if an aircraft could change the trajectory of an asteroid — “Armageddon” style, without the demise of Bruce Willis. To prevent a catastrophe, NASA has to be able to see the threat and apparently that isn’t always the case.
On Thursday, January 26, an asteroid the size of a shipping truck soared past Earth, about 2,200 miles from the planet. NASA detected the giant rock just days before it passed by. Although it wasn’t a threat to the planet, some experts have pointed out that they can’t find most of the threats far in advance.
And just this week, a small asteroid about the size of a truck is predicted to safely make one of the closest approaches by a near-Earth object ever recorded: https://t.co/qb9xHAhlHA pic.twitter.com/XjQHqxw4D0
— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) January 26, 2023
Terik Daly, a planetary scientist who works at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, told Reuters, “We don’t know where most of the asteroids are that can cause local to regional devastation.” He went on to say the government could prevent so many potential disasters by investing a billion dollars into detection systems.
The asteroid that flew past Earth last month wasn’t a threat. It was relatively small, just 11.5 to 28 feet across. NASA also reported that had it entered the atmosphere, it would have just turned into a fireball with some meteorites falling from the sky.
NASA has already started upgrading its detection system. The NEO Surveyor telescope, which cost $1.2 billion, is under development and will help the agency meet its goal of detecting 90% of the asteroids that could cause major damage. These are defined as asteroids that are larger than 140 meters (459 feet).
However, even asteroids much smaller than that can cause a significant amount of destruction. In 2013, a 20-meter (66 feet) meteor exploded over Russia and caused $33 million in damage. It was not detected before it entered the atmosphere.
Copyright 2023, ReliableNews.org