NASA estimates 4,700 ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroids pose some threat to Earth

May 17, 2012SPACE About 4,700 asteroids are close enough and big enough to pose a risk to Earth, NASA estimated Wednesday after studying data beamed back from an orbiting telescope. The figure — give or take 1,500 — is how many space rocks bigger than 100 meters (330 feet) across are believed to come within 5 million miles (8 million km) of Earth, or about 20 times farther away than the moon. “It’s not something that people should panic about,” said Amy Mainzer, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. “However, we are paying attention to the issue.” NASA defines a potentially hazardous asteroid as one large enough to survive the intense heat generated by entry into the atmosphere and cause damage on a regional scale or worse. The figure released Wednesday is lower than a previous rough estimate had projected, but more are now thought to be in orbits inclined like Earth’s, making them more likely to cross its path. Mainzer said asteroids in orbits pitched at a similar angle offer not only a hazard, but also an opportunity. They would be easier for spacecraft to reach. “They’re a population of interest, and we want to keep an eye on them,” she said. NASA says a 40-meter asteroid would strike the Earth with an impact comparable to a 3-megaton nuclear bomb. A 2-km asteroid striking Earth “would produce severe environmental damage on a global scale,” the space agency estimates, but an impact of that magnitude isn’t likely to occur more than twice per million years. The estimate comes from infrared scans of the cosmos by the 16-inch WISE telescope, which was launched in December 2009. The instruments aboard the satellite allowed scientists to spot close-in asteroids by picking up the heat they emit, Mainzer said. Threat? One company wants to mine asteroids It allows us to find the very dark asteroids, the ones that are more like a piece of coal and than shiny pavement,” she said. “We can also tell the difference between an asteroid that’s very large and very dark and a small one that’s very shiny.” Mainzer said between 20% and 30% of the estimated 4,700 potentially hazardous objects have been discovered so far. –CNN
contribution Laura G.
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10 Responses to NASA estimates 4,700 ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroids pose some threat to Earth

  1. Dennis E. says:

    With so many being reported as a threat, it is only a matter of time before another one strikes the earth it seems. If i remember correctly, about 3-4 years ago, Nasa conducted a test on an asteroid and actually struck the asteroid. There was picture/article in the paper and on the internet. I wonder instead of the research project they said it was, if that was actually a test of a weapon designed to destroy a small rock. The larger ones they say, should be steered away by a series of ideas they are working on……Let’s hope not, but you never know. Alvin you did say we are approaching a denser part of the Milky way with more debris…..


    • Yes, but the new book raises similar concerns about asteroid impacts which I cover quite extensively. I think we live under the constant threat of potential impacts because we live basically in a space junkyard of successive debris fields. Mind you, NASA’s estimates may or may not even include the so-called 3000 dark comets thought to be lurking through the solar system.


      • Dennis E. says:

        Ok, I’m with you. And it will probably be one of those dark comets that will be the culprit
        that could sneak in on us.


    • nickk0 says:

      Dennis – It may not have been a test of an ‘actual’ weapon, nor does it need to be, but it is a stepping stone in the process.
      First, I suppose they would need to find out, if they can accurately ‘target’ such an object in space. And they did.

      How about the ‘Deep Impact’ that NASA did on comet Tempel 1 ?


      • Dennis E. says:

        Nickko—-I confess, there are times I just do not believe the goverment or their news
        I think that was the test I was referring to in my comment that you commented on.


  2. Moco says:

    IT’s the trail of goodies from planet X. Incoming to a planet near you.


  3. AWM says:

    I’ve watched several of the NASA interviews, including ones with Ms Mainzer participating, in which the topic was potentially harzardous bodies in the solar system. Brown dwarfs were also discussed, and I got the distinct impression that they weren’t telling us all they knew.


  4. According to a CNN Report on 17-May-2012, NASA estimates 4,700 Asteroids potentially hazardous to Earth. This story is coming on the heels of a Report that their Astronauts began training for Asteroid landing mission (I trust Facebook to reindex my comments hyperlink in this regard during their housekeeping). And then, NASA showed us the picture of a Rock taken 12 years ago?

    We thank NASA for drawing our attention to these things. In Ezekiel 38:22, Lord God mentioned visiting people with Hailstones, Fire and Brimstone. This action appears now to be commencing from the Planet X complex, but according to NASA, its noting to panic about. This assertion is essentially true because Jesus Christ told us clearly that He (and not the PX Lords) is the way. John 14:1-6.

    When I first saw the NASA’s 4,700 Asteroids headline, I thought that they were unfair not to have warned us (John 14:2) because what I heard was Earth moving into the Pleiadian Photon Belt; and not into any nebulous Asteroid Belt. This was before I read the CNN story, so we should give praise to whom it is due; NASA is doing a good job! Yes?

    Jonathan Obikpo


  5. yamkin says:

    Near Earth Asteroid 2012 KP24

    New Earth crossing asteroid will transit near the Earth on the 28th May 2012 at 14.57 UTC and will be 0.00038 A.U. from us.Its diameter is about 26 meters. It will be classed a magnitude 12.


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