On any given day, there are numerous things moving around the universe in our huge solar system and the much larger universe. We estimate that there are only roughly 25,000 comets that pose a threat, which seems like a huge amount. However, given the vastness of our solar system’s space, these meteors are extremely rare and far between. Most asteroids and comets are likewise too small to damage our world. Asteroids capable of making a worldwide catastrophe if they collide with Earth are exceedingly rare. They would more than likely need to be a kilometer or more in diameter. On average, such asteroids crash the Earth once every 100,000 years. Other similar-sized objects, like comets, collide much less regularly, possibly once per 500,000 years or so.
According to a new report published by Phys.org this week, an asteroid projected to be on a course to strike the Earth in the July of 2023 will not hit us after all. The asteroid, dubbed the 2022 AE1, showed potential for impact but the threat has now been reduced to almost zero after the latest findings and the asteroid has been removed from the European Space Agency’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre (NEOCC) risk list.
“In January this year, we became aware of an asteroid with the highest ranking on the Palermo scale that we’ve seen in more than a decade. In my almost ten years at ESA I’ve never seen such a risky object,” said Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEOCC. “It was a thrill to track 2022 AE1 and refine its trajectory until we had enough data to say for certain, this asteroid will not strike.”
While it may not appear so to us, the majority of our globe is deserted ocean, desert, or isolated forest. The asteroid may have been a “city killer” if it had collided with one of our big cities, but the possibilities are tiny — and it could certainly have collided with the water, harming nobody at all. Regardless, the NEOCC’s Asteroid Orbit Determination (AstOD) automated system flagged asteroid 2022 AE1 just one day after its discovery, and we can rest easy knowing that someone is watching out for killer asteroids before they strike the Earth,