Home Science & Technology World Asteroid Day: Understanding Why Earth Collision Risks are Minimal

World Asteroid Day: Understanding Why Earth Collision Risks are Minimal

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The mention of asteroids often instills fear, but the likelihood of one colliding with Earth and causing an apocalypse is extremely low.

Patrick Michel, an astrophysicist and researcher at CNRS (the National Center for Scientific Research) and director of research at the Nice Observatory, finds amusement in our common question: “Currently, there’s no identified threat for at least the next century. We can calculate and predict outcomes much like weather forecasts.”

The significance of June 30th is not coincidental, Michel explained to France 3 Côte d’Azur, as it marks the anniversary of a 1908 atmospheric explosion in Siberia that decimated an entire forest.

While small asteroids frequently impact Earth with minimal consequences, a notable event awaits in 2029: “A 340-meter asteroid will pass close enough to be visible to the naked eye, viewed by over 2 billion people,” Michel detailed, noting the upcoming mission by the European Space Agency to study it.

Research into asteroids is crucial for understanding the solar system and planet formation, tracing back to the discovery of the first asteroid in 1801 by an astronomer in Palermo, measuring 1,000 km in diameter.

In the United States, asteroid discussions, once relegated to scientific circles, now dominate entire pages on platforms like X (formerly Twitter).

Coinciding with this anniversary is the distant passage, on June 29th, of asteroid 290,000 kilometers from Earth, as reported by the European Space Agency. Though sizable, measuring between 120 and 260 meters in diameter, it poses no danger, according to the scientific community.