NASA has warned that massive asteroids could be heading towards Earth completely undetected due to a blind spot in the sky.
Astronomers funded by the US space agency have discovered that objects facing us at night from the east may be stationary due to the way our planet rotates and orbits the sun.
It means they can bypass the vast network of computer telescopes and “sneak into” Earth without warning, according to The Telegraph.
The telescope algorithm was created to warn of asteroids and thus flag moving objects, to avoid false alarms when supernovas and flares pass.
They are programmed to assume that objects facing Earth appear to be drifting westward in the sky because the planet rotates east on its axis.
But as asteroids approach from the eastern sky, Earth’s rotating and curving orbit around the sun can cause objects to stand still.
The chilling revelation, published in the journal Icarus, explains that 50% of impactors heading to Earth from the east are thought to experience periods of slow motion, making them difficult to detect. .
“Researchers should be extra careful when surveying the sky in this direction, and actively monitor for new slow-moving objects,” the team wrote.
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But despite the alarming revelation, Professor Richard Wainscoat, who led the research team at the University of Hawaii, said people “shouldn’t lose sleep” at the prospect of letting their guard down by an asteroid.
“In case we find something about to happen on earth, we want to do something about it,” he explains.
“It’s not a matter of finding them and sitting there and letting it attack.”
The study oddly echoes the plot of the hit Netflix series Don’t Look Up, in which Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence spot a devastating comet in the sky about to wipe out the planet. this planet.
But Professor Wainscoat made sure it was possible to update the algorithms to fix the seemingly stationary effect.
In 2019, Earth had a “near miss” when a 100-meter asteroid plowed through the planet just 43,000 miles away.
After being discovered just 24 hours earlier, it caused concern in the astronomy community and led to a revision of guidelines for asteroid observers.
NASA was then tasked with identifying 90% of the asteroids that are larger than 140 meters and could wipe out a large city if it were to land by the US Congress.
In case we find something about to happen on earth, we want to do something about it.
Professor Richard Wainscoat
They are also working on methods to prevent Earth’s impacts.
A heavy spacecraft program was also launched last year to hit a comet’s moon to deflect it.
Professor Wainscoat said about 40% of the large asteroids that are approaching Earth have been cataloged.
He continued: “We have a path to go. Once we’ve cataloged more than 90%, the number that can affect us from this direction will be minimal.”
An earlier NASA report warned that at least five asteroids are headed for Earth this month – about the size of a large building.
Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have detected extraterrestrial objects through the Asteroid Watch panel, detecting and tracking asteroids and comets expected to come close to Earth. .
But all the asteroids forecast this year will pass by Earth a significant distance, and it is highly unlikely that they will hit our planet.
There is no threat of an asteroid colliding with Earth in the next century.
The most dangerous asteroid in the solar system is named Bennu and has a one in 1,750 chance of it hitting Earth in the next 200 years.
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8215225/nasa-warning-huge-asteroids-heading-earth-undetected/ NASA’s Warning When Massive Asteroids Might Be Heading To Earth COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDED