Asteroid Bennu (Photo Credit: NASA)
Asteroids, asteroids and asteroids. These days you must have been constantly hearing about the asteroids. Aren’t You? It is to be noted that space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction. There are many objects including asteroids, meteoroids and comets in the space that are still mysterious to us. Talking specifically about asteroids, the space rocks are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Asteroids approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. Asteroids can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. A large number of asteroids are hovering all around the Earth and we might get hit too sooner or later. In the month of August this year, asteroids identified as 2019 ON, 2006 QQ23, 454094 2013 BZ45, 2018 PN22, 2016 PD, 2002 JR100 and 2019 OU1 would have hit our planet. Lucky we are, as they all failed to hit our planet and we are safe.
Well, in recent months, around 50 asteroids would have zip past the Earth but failed to hit. So you must be wondering whether any of the asteroid will ever hit the Earth. So let’s find out how often do asteroids hit the Earth?
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) monitors all the lethal asteroids approaching towards Earth. According to a report of express.co.uk, only one car-sized asteroid slams into the Earth's atmosphere about once in a year. However, car-sized asteroids will transform into a fireball which burns up before it affects Earth. Therefore, asteroids smaller than about 80ft (25m) will cause little or no damage.
An asteroid the size of house could flatten most buildings within 1.5 miles of ground zero, spelling death for many thousands. Such a space rock could easily obliterate New York, also causing a magnitude 8 earthquake that might be felt than 1,000 miles away. It is worth mentioning here that once every few million years, an asteroid large enough to threaten the existence of life on Earth arrives.
The largest known potentially hazardous asteroid is Toutatis which is sized at 5.4 km in diameter. NASA calculated if Toutatis were to hit Earth, the resulting crater would stretch more than 100 miles wide. In fact, this is similar in size to the space rock that is believed to have killed the dinosaurs. Importantly, our planet is bombarded with hundreds of tons of space debris every day, however, it hardly affects us.