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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/23/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Asteroids could strike major metropolitan areas and wreak devastation, scientists warn

The Earth was hit by 26 asteroids between the years of 2000 and 2013. The asteroids exploded with a force of between one and 600 kilotons. This phenomenon occurred on average once every six months. More alarmingly, these bodies weren't detected in space and were only noticed once they detonated in Earth's atmosphere.

Data from monitoring stations which were originally designed to enforce a nuclear test ban treaty has discovered that the Earth is enduring far more dangerous asteroid impacts than previously thought.

Data from monitoring stations which were originally designed to enforce a nuclear test ban treaty has discovered that the Earth is enduring far more dangerous asteroid impacts than previously thought.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/23/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Asteroids, impact, study, Spaceuard


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Data from monitoring stations which were originally designed to enforce a nuclear test ban treaty has discovered that the Earth is enduring far more dangerous asteroid impacts than previously thought.

As conducted by the B612 Foundation, the organization is the work of three former astronauts who worry about the threat of asteroids to life on Earth. Dr. Ed Lu presented the report's findings at a press conference in Seattle's Museum of Flight this week.

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"While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially operated observatories," Lu said.

"Because we don't know where or when the next major impact will occur, the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid has been blind luck," he concluded.

He noted that four of this century's collisions have been larger than the atomic bombs that took out Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over a thousand people were injured when an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk last year, and 20 kiloton impacts were recorded over Indonesia, the Southern Ocean, and the Mediterranean.

The 1908 Tunguska impact was by far the largest asteroid strike recorded in human times. The earth wandered into the path of a comet or large asteroid that exploded with a force of around 10 megatons, an explosion that leveled the surrounding forests and blasted down trees for 830 square miles.

NASA's Spaceguard project has performed capably at finding larger clumps of space junk that could seriously threaten human life on Earth. It is, however missing a lot of the smaller debris that could just wipe out a city or cause a tsunami.

The B612 Foundation wants to build and launch a privately funded orbital asteroid detector, dubbed the Sentinel Space Telescope Mission.

Asteroids are ablated by the earth's thick atmosphere and heat up to the point of explosion - most of the time - but sooner or later, probability suggests, one will hit and cause major damage.

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