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Research: Some asteroids could fly above Earth unnoticed, warns NASA

Research: Some asteroids could fly above Earth unnoticed, warns NASA

https://it.sputniknews.com/20220116/guarda-in-alto-alcuni-asteroidi-possono-sorvolare-la-terra-inosservati-avverte-la-nasa-14639191.html

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https://it.sputniknews.com/20220111/asteroide-dal-diametro-di-oltre-un-chilometro-si-avvicina-alla-terra-serve-chiamare-bruce-willis-14582619.html

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NASA is currently working on a mission set by the US Congress in 2005 to catalog and track the absolute majority of potentially dangerous near-Earth space objects – celestial bodies that can come within 45 million kilometers of Earth’s orbit.

Contrary to what you might see in the Netflix comedy “Don’t Look”, the United States and especially NASA are making great efforts to monitor objects in space that could endanger Earth. Thus, when an asteroid 100 meters high, called 2019 OK, stunned astronomers just 24 hours before it crossed 70,000 km of Earth (for comparison, the Moon orbits the planet at a distance of 384,400 km) in 2019. They hurried to try to understand how it could surprise them .

A group of NASA-funded scientists has finally determined that the Earth observation system, made up of dozens of computerized telescopes, has a “blind spot” in the eastern part of the night sky, according to their research published in the scientific journal. Icarus.

Due to the characteristics of the Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun and the rotation of the planet to the east, some space objects may appear stationary when viewed through a telescope. Normally, NEOs appear as a westward drift in the sky, but about half of them approach the planet “from the east” and can fall into this blind spot unnoticed for an extended period of time.

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The computerized telescope system ignores “fixed objects” so that supernovae cannot confuse them. However, this emergency also allowed the object identified by the acronym OK 2019 to remain unnoticed rather than being detected a month before it passed close to Earth. This means that this particular part of the sky will need to be closely monitored, the researchers said.

The team of NASA-supported scientists concluded in their paper that “surveys should be especially cautious when detecting skies in this direction and aggressively tracking” new slow-moving objects.

They also expect to upgrade the telescope system to avoid the impact of some of these space objects appearing static.

The US Congress instructed NASA to monitor 90% of NEOs measuring 140 meters or more in 2005. To date, nearly 40% of these objects have been cataloged.

Washington has also allocated funds to various planetary defense programs over the years. one of those, Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART), studies ways to keep dangerous objects off the planet by colliding with a spacecraft.

An asteroid with a diameter of more than a kilometer is approaching Earth: do you need to call Bruce Willis?