News of a 10-mile-wide killer asteroid hurtling toward Earth burned up the internet this week after a Chinese astronomer announced that the massive space rock could potentially impact the planet with enough force to cause an extinction event.
But there is worse news: Although asteroid 2009ES, the designation of the aforementioned killer asteroid, is currently predicted to make a near-miss pass by the Earth, there are other killer asteroids hurtling through space with the potential to become impactors. And experts believe one will pass closer than half the distance to the Moon less than 13 years from now.
The Daily Star broke the story of asteroid 2009ES, a massive chunk of space rock that astronomers admit to not having an accurate assessment of its trajectory through the solar system. Currently, it is estimated that the potential killer asteroid will pass to within 18.8 lunar distances (the distance from the Earth’s center to the center of the Moon) of our planet. That estimate will be almost certainly be altered as new tracking information becomes available.
Zhao Haibin, an astronomer with the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, China, using China’s largest telescope, tracked and photographed 2009ES to get the latest estimate. In an interview with the Daily Star, Haibin noted that using instruments like the 1.2-metre Schmidt telescope camera has given astronomers a tool with which to better assess threats to the Solar System.
If it were to impact Earth, experts believe that the killer asteroid would release enough energy to equal 3 billion nuclear bombs.
As Inquistr previously reported, killer asteroid 2009ES is one of the many Potentially Hazardous Asteroids being monitored by NASA and the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center. At present, there are over 1,640 detected space objects being tracked that come within relative close proximity of Earth.
Credit to inquisitr.com
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