An asteroid big enough to destroy a city could hit the Earth within a few months Science | New



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The 40-meter-wide asteroid must pass on 9 September and experts warn of a collision risk. The asteroid calls 2006 QV89 and, at 40 meters, it is big enough to destroy a city. The European Space Agency (ESA) says that there are 7,000 out of 1 chances that space rock crushes on Earth. Although the odds are slim, ESA says it is a "nonzero impact probability".

This means that scientists are not 100% sure of its trajectory and that there is a risk of collision.

The ESA said on its website: "In most cases, the size presented in the table is estimated indirectly from the absolute magnitude and is marked with an asterisk to indicate its great uncertainty.

"When a better measure is available in the literature, it replaces the estimated value."

At 40 meters wide, the asteroid will not be big enough to annihilate civilization, but it would be more powerful than the Chelyabinsk incident, according to ESA.

In 2013, a 20-meter meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, which broke windows and injured more than 1,000 people.

The experts did not anticipate the incident, raising fears that the Earth would be surprised by a more devastating asteroid attack in the future.

Jonti Horner, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland, said there was still a huge risk. Civilization risked being destroyed by asteroids.

The teacher. Horner wrote in an article for the conversation: "The solar system is littered with materials left behind by the formation of planets. Most is trapped in stable tanks – the asteroid belt, the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud – far from the Earth.

"These tanks continually spill objects into the interplanetary space, injecting fresh debris into orbits crossing planetary ones.

"The internal solar system is awash with debris, ranging from tiny dust spots to comets and asteroids several kilometers in diameter.

"The vast majority of the debris colliding with the Earth is totally harmless, but our planet still bears traces of collisions with much larger bodies.

"We are always trying to determine how often such events occur. Since our information on the frequency of the most important impacts is quite limited, estimates can vary considerably.

"People generally claim that the impacts of Tunguska's size occur every few hundred years, but that's only based on a sample of an event.

"The truth is we do not really know.

"While the catalog of potentially dangerous objects continues to lengthen, many still remain undetected, waiting to surprise us."

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