Earth In DANGER? Scientists Lose Track Of 900 Asteroids, No Idea Of Their Whereabouts

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 11 September 2019, 06:19 PM
Representative image
Representative image

Is the Earth at risk? Why? The reason: The US-based International Astronomical Union (IAU) has said it has lost track of more than 900 near-Earth asteroids following its last official count, according to Daily Express. Between 2013 and 2016, the IAU’s Minor Planet Center (MPC) conducted an extensive search of objects orbiting Space. The MPC found a total of 17,030 potential near-Earth asteroids.

Scientists have claimed that labelled 11 percent of the total, almost 1,900, as “initially unconfirmed” meaning their exact location could be tracked. Daily Express added that almost half of these near-Earth asteroids remain unaccounted for and could collide with the planet at any moment.

“We need to act fast. Tomorrow, that object could be on the other side of the sky, and nobody really knows where it will be,” Dr Peter Vereš who led the MPC study, said.

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The killer asteroids can travel at speeds in excess of 45,000mph and form into a solid rock like structure, when the travelling through the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The MPC is funded by leading space agency NASA and is responsible for the identification, designation and orbit computation for all measurements of minor planets, comets and outer irregular natural satellites.

Meanwhile, scientists at NASA CNEOS's said, Asteroid 2006 QV89, measuring somewhere between 75.4 ft to 170.6 ft (23m to 52m) in diameter, will pass by Earth this September. However, new analysis of the asteroid’s orbital flight has ruled out th possibility of a  deadly collision, adding that it will make a flyby at a very safe distance.

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"The new analysis of the asteroid, called 2006 QV89, was made possible by key telescopic observations made in early July, and then again the weekend of August 10 to 11, by Dr Dave Tholen of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy," scientists stated.

"After being too distant and too faint to be detectable for over 13 years, Tholen picked the asteroid up using a wide-field camera on the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) on Mauna Kea," they added.

Asteroid QV89, whose uncertain position raised concerns among scientists, leading to consider a probability of impact this month, will appear close to Earth on the morning of Friday, September 27, 2019.

First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:42 PM

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