A researcher analyzing the background of asteroid impacts on Earth claimed there are no doubts that another cosmic object will collide with our planet sometime in the future. The scientist said that it could destroy the majority of life forms, if not all, in a documentary.
Asteroids are space rocks located in the inner Solar System that rotate around the Sun, and their hits, known as ‘impact events,’ have had an essential role in forming numerous planets. NASA is continually monitoring the cosmos, labeling any Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) as Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHO) if they show the slightest sign of danger towards life on Earth.
Possible Future Impact
A documentary on Discovery’s Channel, named ‘Strip the Cosmos,’ unveiled the reason behind NASA’s analysis of the Chicxulub crater, located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, to understand more about a probable future collision.
Peter Schultz, a scientist from the Ames Laboratory in California, said in 2019: “Asteroids have changed the Earth, they have changed the life on Earth, the Chicxulub impact was not that rare of an event. So it is critically important that we understand what happened then, just to understand what might happen in the future.”
“Today we are going to do some experiment with this NASA Ames Vertical Gun, a massive gun that uses gun powder and hydrogen gas to send a projectile down through a long tube, into the chamber and slams into the target. It launches the projectile at a very high speed, around 5kps. Slamming into things and blowing them up, every kid would want this, I used to play in a sandbox in third grade, still doing it now. We want to watch what happens; then, we can understand what may have happened 65 million years ago.”
Astronomer Phil Plait also detailed why the analysis is so critical. He added: “Asteroids can bring a lot of pain to the Earth, big ones especially. We know that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant impact, and giant impacts may have caused other mass extinctions in the past. ”
The series continued on explaining the way the Moon has over 80,000 impact craters, which can be seen because it doesn’t have any atmosphere.
Rapid Action is Needed
Laura Danly, Curator at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, left viewers with a rather worrying idea. She said: “There’s no question that at some point in the future, an asteroid will strike the Earth with enough energy to extinguish most life, if not all.”
Asteroid 10195 Bennu is a potentially dangerous object put on the list of Sentry Risk Table. It has a second-highest aggregate rating on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale as well. Experts have already informed NASA that it could be highly damaging if they do not do something about it.
As per the research led by scientist Maria Eugenia Sansaturio, the Bennu asteroid may collide with Earth at some point in the future. Dr. Sansaturio alerted in a report for the Solar System journal Icarus that there is a high possibility of the space rock hitting.
She said, back in 2010: “The total impact probability of asteroid 1999 RQ36 can be estimated as 0.00092, approximately one-in-a-thousand chance, but what is most surprising is that over half of this chance (0.00054) corresponds to 2182.” NASA has, however, a more refined method to handle Bennu. The space agency is currently operating a mission with its OSIRIS-REx probe to discover more about the asteroid.
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