NASA has announced that it has discovered 10 new “potentially hazardous” space rocks close to Earth that could put life on this planet at risk.
The space agency has been working tirelessly to identify dangers that Earth face from space, and has said that it has found 10 new asteroids of meteors which it believes could harm life on Earth.
The discovery was made by NASA’s asteroid detecting mission – Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or NEOWISE.
Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: “NEOWISE is not only discovering previously uncharted asteroids and comets, but it is providing excellent data on many of those already in our catalog.
“It is also proving to be an invaluable tool in in the refining and perfecting of techniques for near-Earth object discovery and characterisation by a space-based infrared observatory.”
On top of the 10 “potentially hazardous” objects, Nasa says that they have identified 97 other space rocks and seen an unexplained spike in comet activity.
Emily Kramer, a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at JPL and lead author of paper on the NEOWISE study stated: “Comets that have abrupt outbursts are not commonly found, but this may be due more to the sudden nature of the activity rather than their inherent rarity.
“It is great for astronomers to view and collect cometary data when they find an outburst, but since the activity is so short-lived, we may simply miss them most of the time.”
The findings come shortly after a group of Czech scientists warned fragments of asteroids which could wipe out entire countries are hidden in the Taurids meteor shower.
The startling finding means that experts may not be able to spot the massive space rock hidden in the annual Taurids meteor shower until it is too late.
According to the group of researchers, one of the fragments could hit Earth in 2022, 2025, 2032 or 2039 during the annual meteor shower.
Experts from the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Science said: “Since asteroids of sizes of tens to hundreds meters pose a treat to the ground even if they are intrinsically weak, impact hazard increases significantly when the Earth encounters the Taurid new branch every few years.
“Further studies leading to better description of this real source of potentially hazardous objects, which can be large enough to cause significant regional or even continental damage on the Earth, are therefore extremely important.”
SOURCE: SEAN MARTIN