A recent review of a far -flung asteroid brings good news: the threat is much smaller than astronomers fear.
An asteroid called 1950 DA will have a short and long time to fall to Earth in the future: In 2015, scientists estimated that 1 in 8,000 Earth would endanger the Earth. 2880. But a new report was released on Tuesday (March 29) knocking the asteroid from the top of NASA’s list of asteroids known to be the most dangerous on Earth.
“1950 DA is not to worry,” Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, told Space.com in an email. “But I would say it’s encouraging that we can see a far more far -reaching outcome for this than 800 years ago.”
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The broad rock is 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers) wide, and scientists have a good idea of its shape, thanks to what the Arecibo Observatory now finds in Puerto Rico. The first hypothesis was that the asteroid was more destructive than the rock, which would have prevented the impact.
Fortunately, the re -evaluation revealed that the asteroid is smaller than previously thought. “The impact rate is small, 1 in 30,000,” Farnocchia wrote of the asteroid, a huge improvement from the past. “But while it is unlikely that the 1950 DA will have an end trajectory, the end is in the year 2880 and provides ample time for mitigation,” he said.
NASA is tasked with finding and observing asteroids such as the 1950 DA through companion telescopes and space monitors, set up through the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. No threat is feared right now, but NASA is reviewing past analyzes to ensure accuracy.
In January, the center upgraded its Sentry system to monitor the asteroid crisis. Among the critical changes, the predictions are better for the Yarkovsky effect, or changes in the path of an asteroid in the sky due to heat from the sun.
The impact had a significant impact on the orbit of the 1950 DA, and for years, NASA calculated asteroid trajectories using a 2002 program called Sentry that could not trace the Yarkovsky event.
But Farnocchia and his colleagues have to compare many of the features to what he calls a “strong approach.” Then, scientists need to accurately evaluate the results to see the consequences and the possibilities.
Therefore, when new scientific knowledge of the 1950 DA became available, they did not have to worry about recurring consequences.
However, the new system, called Sentry-II, was able to calculate the Yarkovsky effect, allowing him to easily calculate the effect parameters without any additional operations, so the 1950 DA was available. its first update since 2015. The update with Sentry-II only. it took a few hours, and it was done easily, and it will be done often.
The low -altitude rating moved the 2015 DA to second place on NASA’s watch list. Now on the high ground go to Bennu, the asteroid unveiled by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission in October 2020. The spacecraft will deliver its signals in 2023, giving scientists a more detailed look. to the rock and, not compared, helping them evaluate if it is an asteroid. It was a threat to open the window in 2178.