The Earth frequently runs a gauntlet of large space rocks. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A Russian scientist has identified a huge asteroid that crosses the Earth's orbit every three years.
The threat posed to the Earth by objects from space was brought in to sharp focus back in 2013 when a meteor the size of a bus exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia.
While the damage was minimal compared to what it could have been had the space rock been much bigger, the event prompted an increase in asteroid hunting efforts and a greater emphasis on finding ways to protect the planet should something of a much larger scale ever be found heading in our direction.
Now astrophysicist Vladimir Lipunov from the Moscow State University has revealed the discovery of an asteroid the size of a mountain that appears to cross the Earth's orbit every three years.
"We need to permanently track this asteroid, because even a small mistake in calculations could have serious consequences," he said.
While there doesn't appear to be any immediate risk of a collision, the find still emphasizes how little we know of the objects that are crossing our path on a regular basis.
Even a relatively small asteroid could cause widespread devastation were it to to hit us and there are countless thousands of them out there that we don't know anything about.
"Every couple of days new ones are being discovered," said Natan Esmant of Moscow's Space Research Institute. "Scientists have increasingly powerful tools to do this work, but there's a lot still to be done. Every object that crosses the Earth's path can be a potential threat."
Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (9)