NASA scientist warns that Earth is unprepared for surprise asteroid or comet

A leading NASA scientist has warned that Earth is totally unprepared to deal with a serious threat from a surprise asteroid or comet.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union Dr Joseph Nuth warned that while large and potentially dangerous asteroids and comets are extremely rare they could be extinction-level events.

Nuth pointed out that while most attention has focused on asteroids comets can potentially be just as dangerous to the Earth. This is partly because Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are far more common, and also because the comets are more difficult to track.

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The end of the world : How NASA will deal with a killer asteroid

Although the odds of an asteroid striking Earth are extremely low (a 5,000-foot asteroid is only expected to hit the Earth about once every 1 million years), NASA does have a plan of action, in case an errant space rock were making its way towards the planet.

When a survey discovers what could be a new near-Earth object (NEO), it gets logged with the Minor Planet Center in a public forum.

If a newly discovered object does look like it is on a course that would bring it near Earth in the next six days, the Minor Planet Center’s system sends out an automated text message or email to a select group of people at the center and NASA.

If the asteroid actually looks like it has a chance of striking the planet NASA notifies the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and then soon after, issues a press release to inform the public.

FULL STORY : http://mashable.com/2016/12/04/what-happens-killer-asteroid-strike

DATE : 4 December 2016

SOURCE : Mashable

Near-Earth Asteroid 2016 VA – very close encounter

The near-Earth asteroid 2016 VA was discovered by the Mount Lemmon Sky Survey (part of the Catalina Sky Survey) in Arizona (USA) on 1 November 2016 and announced later the same day by the Minor Planet Center.

The object was going to have a very close encounter with the Earth, at 0.2 lunar distances (c 80,000 km).

The asteroid was believed to be 7 to 22 meters wide, was traveling about 48,000 mph (77,000 km/h) relative to Earth during the close encounter.

FULL STORY : www.virtualtelescope.eu/2016/11/02/near-earth-asteroid-2016-va-very-close-encounter-eclipse-01-nov-2016

DATE : 2 November 2016

SOURCE : The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0