Asteroids take aim at the Earth

2014-05-27 09:41
Earth as seen from space.

Earth as seen from space. (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A number of asteroids are set to pass the Earth, with one coming very close to the planet on Wednesday.

Asteroid 2014 HM2 and 2014 GH35 will pass the Earth on Tuesday at a relatively safe distance of 15 million and 20 million kilometres respectively, but on Wednesday, 2014 KF22 will pass just one million kilometres from the Earth.

Tuesday's space rocks are massive at between 100m to 300m in size, and though KF22 is smaller at about 30m, it is travelling almost double the speed at 38 000km/h.

Asteroids can potentially cause huge impact is they strike the Earth and if a sufficiently large body hits, it would cause global catastrophe regardless of the location of the impact zone.

An asteroid of 10km in diameter is regarded by astronomers as an extinction event, similar to the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Future collision

In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded in the atmosphere over Russia, caused widespread damage and injuries to around 1 500 people.

The explosion was equivalent to around 30 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The Moon is about 384 400km from the Earth and while this orbit will see safe passage for the Earth from KF22, asteroids orbit the sun and any minor change from gravity could result in a future collision.

Nasa and other space agencies have accelerated their NEO (Near Earth Object) observation capability in an effort to quickly map the orbit of the objects which could cause catastrophic damage should they impact the planet.

The agency recently activated its Wise (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) programme (NEOWISE) which in just 25 days of operation, discovered 857 bodies in our solar system.

While some were known, the programme discovered three new objects hundreds of metres in diameter.

The European Space Agency recently set up the NEO (Near-Earth Object) Co-ordination Centre located at Italy. The facility will monitor objects that could threaten the Earth and is part of the European Space Research Institute.


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
- News24
Read more on:    space  |  astronomy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 2 690 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Houses R 2 680 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.