Is NASA aware of any Earth-threatening asteroids? Luckily there are no known asteroid threats to Earth for at least 100 years. But that doesn’t mean we’re not looking. Asteroid expert Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory breaks it down:
Is NASA Aware of Any Earth-Threatening Asteroids? We Asked a NASA Scientist.
No, there is no asteroid that we know of that is concerning in terms of impact hazard.
Now, we know that asteroid impacts have happened in the past and can certainly happen in the future. But we should keep in mind that those are rare events.
An asteroid impact that could cause serious regional damage only happens every few thousand years or longer.
Still, it’s a good idea to protect us against that possibility and the rule of the game is find asteroids before they find us.
And that’s why for over 20 years, NASA has been funding search programs to observe the sky pretty much every single night to find and track asteroids.
And we’ve been doing a pretty good job at that. So far, we’ve discovered more than a million asteroids, including 95 percent of the asteroids that are greater than one kilometer and that could come close to the Earth.
Once we discover an asteroid, we project its motion into the future to assess the possibility of an impact with Earth.
We have a scale called Torino scale that helps us rank the risk coming from each asteroid. It goes from zero, which is lowest risk, to 10, which is highest risk.
And the good news is that for all the asteroids that we’ve discovered so far, the Torino scale is zero — so, lowest risk for the next hundred years.
So, is NASA aware of any Earth-threatening asteroids?
No. But we will keep searching the skies just in case.
We Asked a NASA Scientist.