An asteroid which has yet to be sighted by the likes of NASA could surprise scientists and come colliding into our planet, according to an expert. NASA has made great strides in discovering near-Earth objects that are over one kilometre in size, with 90 percent now accounted for.
However, that means there are still 10 percent of dangerous asteroids that have not been spotted.
While the chances of a major asteroid hitting Earth are small – NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year that a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit – the devastating prospect is not impossible.
In 2013, a 65ft (20m) meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, smashing windows and caused injuries to more than 1,000 people.
Experts had not anticipated the incident, leading to fears Earth could be surprised by a more devastating asteroid strike in the future.
Asteroid shock: ‘Significant chance’ asteroid will hit Earth expert warns
Chelyabinsk caught astronomers off guard
Now, an expert has warned it should not be the likes of asteroids Bennu and Apothis which should cause fear, but an unknown object.
Citing the surprise Chelyabinsk asteroid, data scientist Dave McKee said we should not fear the asteroids which we already know of.
Mr McKee wrote on Q&A site Quora: “There’s a significantly bigger chance of a significant asteroid that we haven’t seen yet hitting us than any of the ones we have seen; for example, the Chelyabinsk meteor wasn’t detected before it entered the earth’s atmosphere.”
NASA experts have warned there is a “100 percent” chance an asteroid will hit our world.
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NASA has made great strides in discovering near-Earth objects that are over one kilometre in size, with 90 percent now accounted for
Greg Leonard, a senior research specialist at Catalina Sky Survey – a NASA funded project supported by the Near Earth Object Observation Program (NEOO) – told Bryan Walsh for the latter’s new book End Times: “I know the chances of me dying in an asteroid impact is less than dying from a lightning strike.
“But I also know that if we do nothing, sooner or later, there’s a one hundred percent chance that one will get us. So I feel privileged to be doing something.”
This is why there are now plans in the pipeline which could help Earth from asteroids.
NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu, where its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft arrived in 2018.
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The hunt for asteroids
Their OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft is gathering information about the space rock, which is 500 metres in length.
NASA fears the asteroid, which has the potential to wipe out an entire country on Earth, could hit our planet within the next 120 years, with the next close flyby in 2135.
The mission will give vital information on how to deflect asteroids from their collision course with Earth.
But NASA reiterated, while there is a small chance Earth could be impacted, “over millions of years, of all of the planets, Bennu is most likely to hit Venus.”