Scientists are getting better at spotting “potentially dangerous” incoming asteroids, with three more measuring over 15 meters in diameter arriving this week. However, asteroid hunters lost a 1,000-meter space rock last month alone.
Earth is threatened almost constantly by space debris in the form of asteroids and meteorites, and this week is no exception, with two smaller space rocks due to the hum of the planet today and tomorrow.
Meanwhile, over the course of the week, NASA gave the “warning” to about three asteroids, each over 15 meters.
On September 16, the 2020 asteroid RW3, which measures around 18m in diameter (or twice as long as a London bus) will fire beyond the Earth at a distance of 2.5 million km.
To prevent anyone from feeling too comfortable, though, to remember that humanity must always remain vigilant for space threats, an amateur astronomer in Brazil has discovered a large asteroid that has somehow slipped past the planet’s main defenses. Land just last month.
Asteroid 2020 QU6, measuring 1,000 meters wide, large enough to inflict significant damage here on Earth if it hits, was spotted by amateur astronomer Leonardo Amaral based at the Campo dos Amarais observatory in Brazil on August 27.
Fortunately, September 10 passed us at a distance of 40 million kilometers, more than 100 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Amaral was able to locate the asteroid thanks to its somewhat unique viewpoint as it is located in the southern hemisphere, while many of our asteroid hunter telescopes are located in the northern hemisphere.
“This discovery reminds us that even though we have found larger NEOs [Near-Earth Objects] we didn’t find them all “ said Casey Dreier, chief attorney and senior advisor for space policy for The Planetary Society.
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