Visualization Show Asteroids As Powerful As Nuclear Bombs Hit Earth Twice A Year [Video]
With the help of data from monitoring stations designed to enforce nuclear test ban treaty, a study has found that the Earth is enduring far more dangerous asteroid impact than previously thought.
Between 2000 and 2013, the Earth was hit by 26 asteroids that exploded with a maximum force of 600 kilotons. All these 26 cases of explosion were only detected when they detonated in Earth's atmosphere.
"While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially operated observatories," said foundation's CEO (and former shuttle pilot) Dr. Ed Lu while presenting the report's findings at a press conference in Seattle's Museum of Flight on Tuesday, according to The Register.
"Because we don't know where or when the next major impact will occur, the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid has been blind luck," he concluded.
The study highlighted that four of this century's collisions were larger than the atomic bombs that took out Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Last year, more than a thousand people were injured when an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, and 20 kiloton impacts were recorded over Indonesia, the Southern Ocean and the Mediterranean, The Register reported.
Experts warned that the issue should not be dismissed as there's always a chance that one of these asteroids might reach the ground.
The International Monitoring System (IMS), overseen by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), has actually detected shock waves from many airbursts, proving that asteroids impacts are far more frequent than thought, according to space.com.
The study has been carried out be the B612 Foundation.