More than 26 asteroids entered Earth's atmosphere between 2000 and 2013. None of them was detected in advance
The chances of a “city-killing” asteroid striking Earth are much higher than scientists previously thought. A recent report has found that more than 26 asteroids reached Earth’s atmosphere between 2000 and 2013—a number much higher than estimated. The findings released by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization on April 24, 2014 suggest that some of the asteroid explosions were more intense than the nuclear explosion that wiped out Hiroshima in 1945.
The report says that while most of these asteroids exploded too high in the atmosphere to cause serious damage, the one that fell in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February last year damaged hundreds of buildings and injured more than 1,600 people. The report points out that none of the 26 asteroid impacts was detected in advance, suggesting the need for a better mechanism to warn of asteroids approaching Earth.
The urgency to develop such a mechanism is growing by the day. “Since we don’t know where or when the next major impact will occur, and because none of these 26 asteroid explosions was detected in advance, it means the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ asteroid is blind luck,” says Ed Lu, CEO and co-founder of the B612 Foundation, a private body dedicated to protect Earth from asteroids.
The B612 Foundation has partnered with Ball Aerospace, an American spacecraft manufacturer, to build the Sentinel Infrared Space Telescope Mission. The Sentinel Mission will place a telescope in an oblong Venus-like trajectory to orbit Earth.
|“Since we don't know where or when the next asteroid impact will occur, the only thing preventing a catastrophe is blind luck”|
|— Ed Lu, CEO of B612 Foundation|
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