A Russian scientist has spied a large mountain sized asteroid headed toward Earth. The astrophysicist stated that he and his colleagues have sited the huge space rock whose orbit is believed to cross the planet every three years. Researchers are saying they do not believe that there is any immediate threat of collision from the monster but they want to get the word out. The asteroid has been named 2014 UR116 and its sudden and astonishing discovery highlights once again just how little is known about asteroids and how unpredictable they and their orbits can be.
Dr. Vladimir Lipunov, who works as a professor at a university in Moscow, decided to broadcast about the discovery in a short Russian documentary entitled Asteroids Attacked! It was posted on several different media sites and has also been embedded here for anyone who wants to view it. It first went up on the Russian Space Agency website and was shared from there. It is in Russian but can be viewed and watched with subtitles if the viewer hits the CC button, (Closed Captioned):
Dr. Lipunov explained that the asteroid, which he calculated to be around 370 meters in diameter, could strike the Earth with a blast that might be 1,000 times stronger than the 2013 crash of the meteor that hit Russia. It ended up being around the size of a bus. That space rock came into the planet’s atmosphere over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk, and it caused numerous windows to explode and also damaged buildings for many miles.
The scientist also stated that it was problematic to analyze the orbit of such large objects like 2014 UR116 due to the fact that as they fly through space, their flight paths are continuously being altered by the gravitational pull of adjacent planets. He declared that astronomers will now have to permanently keep track of the new asteroid, because any errors in calculations could end up having grave penalties for the Earth.
However, there appears to be little chance that this certain asteroid may strike the Earth in the next few decades, although over a longer period of time, it appears that a crash will be very likely, says Russian astronomer Dr. Natan Esmant, who works with the Space Research Institute in Moscow. Regardless, he states that at the present time, the people of Earth have a much more serious issues to worry about. That is the projected 100,000 near-Earth objects, like asteroids and comets that cross the planet’s orbit and are big enough to cause damage. Out of the 100,000, there have only been around 11,500 that have been tracked and categorized to date.
Dr. Esmant explained that it seems this day and time, every few days, a couple new ones seem to be found and are announced to the public through the new media. Astronomers have progressively gained more powerful space tools that are able to do space watching, but there is so much more that needs to be done. Every single space rock which crosses the Earth’s orbit can be a possible threat. Since the meteor that hit Chelyabinsk came as a complete shock to researchers, scientists have been attempting to try and find the dangers flying in space. Astronomers have been using many different kinds of telescopes, along with radars and also infrared sensors to search for possibly deadly asteroids. They even launched the very first Russian satellite that was especially intended to recognize and identify asteroids just this year.
There has also been a campaign started in order to try and show the general public what dangers lay behind asteroids and also ways there might be to help protect the planet from what is believed to be an inevitable global impact. It was jointed began by astronomers, researchers, astronauts, politicians, musicians, actors and business people. The event will happen on June 30, 2015, celebrated the world over and known as the Earth’s First Asteroid Day.
By Kimberly Ruble
Outer Space News
Photo by Epilson Eridani – Flickr License