Several asteroids flew too close to Earth

Asteroid falls to Earth

NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies monitors the sky, studying nearly 28,000 asteroids and a much smaller number of comets that fly near the Earth.

According to the Center, this year several asteroids have already flown too close to Earth. The colossal 2005 YY128, which flew by on February 16, had a maximum possible diameter of over 1000 meters. Because of its size, 2005 YY128 was discovered back in 2005, as reflected in its name.

In recent years, scientists have been discovering more and more so-called near-Earth asteroids, including many smaller ones. Despite their relatively small size, these asteroids can cause significant damage if they collide with the Earth. Statista has prepared statistics on the nearest asteroid flybys.

Several asteroids flew too close to Earth

NEA – near-Earth asteroids

Near-Earth asteroids, or NEAs, also include more than 2,000 potentially hazardous specimens, of which approximately 150 are larger than one kilometer in diameter.

A giant asteroid hitting Earth is not good news for life on the planet. There is evidence that it could have been one of the main causes of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.

But it doesn’t take a massive asteroid to do a lot of damage. In December 2019, an asteroid just ten meters in diameter exploded 25 kilometers above the Bering Sea with a force equivalent to ten Hiroshima atomic bombs. No international or national space organization detected the small celestial object before it disintegrated over an unsuspecting Earth.

NEA - near-Earth asteroids

As technology has advanced over the decades, people have gotten better at seeing what’s hovering around us in the sky. According to NASA’s CNEOS, only a handful of celestial objects were discovered before 1900. The scale of this number did not change until the end of the century. As of 1990, only 134 near-Earth asteroids and 42 potentially hazardous objects had been discovered. For comparison, as of January 1, 2022, 27820 NEAs and 2230 potentially hazardous asteroids were identified.


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