Astronomers Have Mapped The Paths of Hazardous Asteroids For The Next 1,000 Years

It is as inevitable as the Sun rising and the tides shifting. Another big space object will one day strike the planet. For billions of years past and billions of years to come, it has occurred and will continue to occur.

So far, humanity has been fortunate because we haven't had to deal with such a terrible threat. But if we want to live on this planet for a long time, we must accept that there will be dangerous asteroids and learn to prepare for them.

The skies are still being watched over by organizations all around the world. They are cataloging and mapping all NEOs, or near-Earth objects, that could be dangerous. Thankfully, there are fewer of the larger rocks, which obviously offer a greater concern. The majority of the potentially dangerous asteroids bigger than one kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter have credible maps, despite the fact that our census of dangerous NEOs is far from comprehensive.

This is helpful, to put it mildly, because kilometer-scale asteroids have the ability to not only destroy entire towns but also to hurt the environment significantly all around the world.

A group of astronomers has calculated the orbits of these massive NEOs over the next millennium in order to determine the risk that they represent. According to their study, none of these kilometer-scale NEOs represent a serious threat to mankind in the next century.

Beyond that, though, it is challenging for us to forecast these NEOs' orbits. This is due to the fact that modest changes in orbital dynamics may have significant consequences over very long timeframes. An asteroid might be sent on a course that ends up crossing the Earth in a few thousand years by a little variation in the amount of energy it receives from the Sun or an unexpected tug from Jupiter.

The researchers looked at the most direct collision between known dangerous NEOs and the Earth. They focused on how this closest distance alters over the duration of thousands and centuries. In order to accomplish this, they ran a number of simulations that sketched out as many potential orbital pathways as they could, taking into account the uncertainty in the NEOs' present orbital locations and velocities.

One NEO in particular, Asteroid 7482, was singled out by scientists as being particularly dangerous. For the next millennium, this asteroid will spend a large amount of time close to the Earth. Even if it doesn't guarantee that it will hit Earth, it does indicate that this rock has the greatest likelihood of colliding with it within the next thousand years.

Another asteroid that was highlighted by the researchers is Asteroid 143651, whose orbit is so erratic that it is hard to forecast its precise location for more than a few decades. Therefore, given on our current understanding of its position and its velocity, we are unable to declare with certainty if it poses any threat at all.

28 candidates have a non-zero probability of a "deep encounter," which implies they will pass closer to the Moon than any other object, according to the researchers.

None of these things may collide with Earth in the next one hundred or a thousand years, but if we're going to last the long haul, we need to be aware of them.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.