Scientists say that every year, the Earth is hit by almost 6100 meteors that are large enough to reach the ground. This also translates to about 17 meteors every day. Given these circumstances, it’s practically impossible for space agencies to spot any space rock on time, regardless of how much they try to convince us otherwise.
One recent proof is the arrival of the 2020 QG asteroid, an object that flew past Earth at only 1,830 miles away for its closest approach. A NASA-funded program was able to detect the space rock only six hours after its flyby.
It was the size of a car
The object measures 6 to 18 feet wide, which made scientists compare it with a car. However, even if Earth was in the asteroid’s trajectory, there still wasn’t use for being worried. A simulator from Imperial College London and Purdue University reveals that space rocks so small will disintegrate in the atmosphere due to the air friction.
However, the concern still remains that space agencies might not detect on time larger asteroids that could indeed pose a threat to us. But Paul Chodas, the director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, provided an explanation for why the 2020 QG asteroid wasn’t detected:
“There’s not much we can do about detecting inbound asteroids coming from the sunward direction, as asteroids are detected using optical telescopes only (like ZTF), and we can only search for them in the night sky,”
The Chelyabinsk asteroid that hit Russia back in 2013 was not detected by astronomers at all, and it measured about 17 meters in diameter. Furthermore, many scientists are certain that a second Chicxulub impactor like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs will visit Earth again some day. But hopefully, humanity will be evolved enough technologically in order to deal with such a threat.