Asteroid impacts could harm satellites, power grids, and other vital systems, disrupting communication, electricity, and economy.
Space watchdogs are on high alert! NASA has been tracking four asteroids that were recently or in a day will be zipped by Earth, keeping a close eye on them with powerful telescopes like the NEOWISE and ALMA. These celestial rocks, called near-Earth objects, were all safely spotted before their flyby on December 13-14.
One of the asteroids, named 2023 XH7, is a member of the Apollo group, known for its orbit that crosses Earth’s path. Luckily, it zoomed past us at a safe distance of around 940,148 kilometers. While it moved quite fast, like a space shuttle, its size was small enough not to pose any danger to our planet.
The four additional asteroids, namely 2023 XU4, 2023 XO10, 2023 XB12, and 2023 XB3, share a common characteristic with their counterpart 2023 XH7-they are all approximately the size of a city bus. Much like their celestial companion, these asteroids are anticipated to pass by Earth at a secure distance, providing a close but benign celestial spectacle.
Asteroids are large rocks that orbit the sun. Sometimes, they collide with Earth, causing damage and destruction. One of the possible effects of an asteroid impact is the loss of communication satellites, which provide internet, phone, and other services that we rely on. Another possible effect is the damage to power grids, which supply electricity to homes, businesses, and industries. Without communication and electricity, our society would face many challenges and difficulties.
The probability of an asteroid hitting Earth and causing such widespread damage is very low, but it is not zero. Therefore, we should not ignore this potential threat but rather prepare for it. We should invest in the research and development of technologies that can detect asteroids that are on collision course with Earth and deflect them away from our planet. By doing so, we can protect our civilization from a cosmic disaster.
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