‘Sizeable asteroids have hit the Earth between 2000 and 2013’

‘Sizeable asteroids have hit the Earth between 2000 and 2013’

‘Sizeable asteroids have hit the Earth between 2000 and 2013’

Written by Kumudu Jayawardana

23 Apr, 2014 | 9:25 am

A visualisation showing where sizeable asteroids have hit the Earth in recent years has been released by the B612 Foundation.

The US-based group, which includes a number of former Nasa astronauts, campaigns on the issue of space protection.

It hopes the visualisation will press home the idea that impacts are more common than we think.

The presentation leans on data collected by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

The CTBTO operates a network of sensors that listens out for clandestine atom bomb detonations.

Between 2000 and 2013, this infrasound system catalogued 26 major explosions on Earth.

None were caused by A-bombs; they were all the result of asteroid strikes.

They ranged in energy from one to 600 kilotons. By way of comparison, the bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima was a 15-kiloton device.

Fortunately, most of these space rocks disintegrated high up in the atmosphere and caused few problems on the ground.

A few, people will have heard about, such as the 20m-wide object that ripped across the sky above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk last year.

But many will have gone unseen because they occurred far out over the oceans.

And just one of the 26 events was detected in advance, and then by only a matter of hours.


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