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How much should you really worry about asteroids and meteoroids colliding with Earth?

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It’s like a disaster movie and a sensational headline: an asteroid, meteor, or comet is heading to Earth. Are we destined? Isn’t this the one that brought out the dinosaurs? Do you have enough lead time to set the difference aside, gather as a seed, make some kind of technical defense, and make an effort to maintain our way of life before it disappears completely, or the last moment? Do you spend Messed up nonsense??

Don’t go beyond yourself. Most of these questions are controversial, as the chances of experiencing a human-destroying effect are actually quite low. Here’s what you need to know:

First, what is the difference between a meteor, an asteroid, and a comet?

According to NASA, Meteors, asteroids, and comets are “all planetary objects orbiting the Sun”, but they are slightly different. Asteroids are small and rocky, look like spots of light when viewed through a telescope, and are usually in the ring between Mars and Jupiter.Meteors are actually meteorsoids It came closer to the earth and entered our atmosphere, Meteoroid?? They are small fragments of asteroids or comets, usually from certain collisions, from pebbly-sized rocks to 1-meter chunks. Meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere at ultra-fast speeds and burn out in the process, creating streaks of light. (That’s how we get shooting stars.) If a meteorite survives all of it and lands on the ground, it’s called a meteorite. A comet, on the other hand, is a large object of dust and ice that orbits the Sun and has a tail. They are the remnants of billions of years ago from the formation of the solar system.

It’s cool to know the difference, but it’s not so important when it comes to the question of the day (how deadly is this space rock?).Because it’s the same: everyone isn’t worth worrying about above all else, and none of them are really worth worrying about when they exist More concrete threats to the future of mankind To keep you at night.

How scary should you be in a collision?

The influence of the famous and common meteorite has been recorded throughout history. People were injured even by the glass and debris associated with these rockfalls, According to NASA’s Bill CookOnly four major meteorites in recorded history have caused serious damage of any kind.

Gordon L. Dillo Published a book About this topic in 2019.At that time he Said Smithsonian Magazine, “The Earth is constantly being attacked by small asteroids that burn and explode harmlessly in the atmosphere.” This is a normal event in planetary terms and rarely causes problems for anyone. .. In addition, “the possibility of a collision with a large asteroid or comet that will end civilization, such as a 6-mile wide asteroid that seems to have wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago, in our lifetime, or even in the lives of our grandchildren, is It’s very small. “

How small is it? Fo reportsrbesEuropean Space Agency Near-Earth Object Adjustment Center We maintain a list of over 1,300 “near Earth” objects that can affect our planet... Most of the ones most likely to hit us are relatively small (less than 10 meters in diameter) and unlikely to disrupt life on Earth. The largest on radar, the 1.1-kilometer beast known as the asteroid 1950 DA, could land once every 8,000 times … 800 centuries later.

Dillo acknowledged the Earth “unless we can find a way to stop it.” Will At some point in the future, we will be hit by an asteroid large enough to cause some local or regional destruction, or a global climate disaster. Fortunately, there is good news there as well.

Scientists are on top of that, maybe

If you’ve seen any of the many movies about what happens when an object from space hits a planet, you know that scientists are watching for something like this. Do you remember Cook? He is part of NASA’s Meteor Environment Agency, a scientist and decision maker who monitors potentially hostile rock skies, including the government, as well as the International Asteroid Warning Network and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group. There are many other groups. in the world.

These groups, at least in theory, do more than monitor. For example, if a meteor material that exceeds 50 meters is found on a collision course with the Earth, the United States will try to deflect it according to official policy. Dillo pointed out that there are quite a few ways our scientists have come up with to distract an asteroid. From throwing a white paintball at an asteroid to change reflectance, to using nuclear weapons to “get off course a little”. (There are international treaties banning the use of nuclear weapons in space, but perhaps the person in charge will make a clutch game time decision to ignore them in the case of our inherent destiny.)

The most likely anti-cosmic rock scenario involves using a “kinetic impactor” to divert oncoming terrorism. In this scenario, the unmanned spacecraft is packed with metal and crashes into an asteroid at thousands of miles per hour, slowing it down. NASA is currently taking this approach Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission, The first real-world attempt to change the movement of asteroids in space by dynamic impact. The DART spacecraft deliberately collides with an asteroid that poses no threat to Earth and sees how it progresses.

If you want to feel like you’re doing Something You can learn how to do about the threat of asteroids Find and report them yourself.It may give you something that occupies the space of your brain Other than your fear of the catastrophic apocalypse. Or spend more time thinking about the next pandemic. Either.

How much should you really worry about asteroids and meteoroids colliding with Earth?

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