Earth Day Video Shows Frequency of Asteroid Impacts
Asteroids impacts with our planet aren't exactly rare. In fact, since the beginning of the 21st century, there have been dozens of asteroids that have slammed into our planet. Some of the larger asteroids can come down with more energy than an atomic bomb.
A new time lapse video was made available for Earth Day by the B612 Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit group comprised of former NASA astronauts. The group observes asteroids in space and tries to predict whether they will come in contact with our planet. Their most recent video was made public in an effort to show that asteroids colliding with planet Earth are an event that happens on a regular basis.
The majority of asteroids that collide with our planet aren't noticed by anyone because they break up at a very high altitude in our atmosphere and thus don't cause any damage when they hit the ground. When asteroids do make it all the way down, many of them simply end up falling in the middle of the ocean.
The recent video uses data collected from sensors installed around the world by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. While these sensors are primarily designed to detect signs of a nuclear detonation, they are also able to detect impacts that happen when asteroids hit. During the time period from the year 2000 to 2013, these same sensors have detected 26 explosions. None of them were caused by nuclear tests, but rather were set off by impacting asteroids.
According to the B612 Foundation, awareness of asteroids should be a serious concern for humanity. Ed Lu, a former NASA astronaut and foundation member, reminds us that there are over a million asteroids dangerous enough to level a city, but we've only detected around 10,000 of them in space until now.