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The most dangerous asteroid for humanity will not hit Earth in 2052


Since its first detection nearly a year ago, asteroid 2021 QM1 has risen to the top of the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) classification of dangerous space rocks. The asteroid will pass close to us on April 2, 2052, and because the rock is so distant and hard to see, scientists weren’t able to rule out the possibility of a direct impact with Earth early on. Its stated chance of hitting the planet was about 1 in 3,300.

“We could see its future paths around the Sun, and in 2052 it could come dangerously close to Earth. The more the asteroid was observed, the greater the risk”, commented Richard Moissl, Head of Planetary Defense at ESA, in a press release.


Hunted in Arizona

Asteroid 2021 QM1 was first seen on the night of August 28, 2021, by the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. Thus, although this 50 meter wide asteroid -almost the size of the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris- was originally thought to be able to hit the Earth in 2052, now we can all breathe a sigh of relief, as it has been ruled out as an official threat of the asteroid risk list of the European Space Agency (ESA) that works with experts from the . Of course, there are another 1,377 asteroids left.

Now the ESA asteroid team, working with experts from the European Southern Observatory, as a result of skillful observations and analysis of the faintest asteroid ever observed with one of the most sensitive telescopes ever built, has ruled that it poses no risk to us. .

This asteroid will not hit Earth, at least not for the next century. Follow-up observations determined that 2021 QM1 was an Apollo-class asteroid, meaning that its orbit around the Sun overlaps with Earth’s orbit; they are the most common type of near-Earth objects (NEOs).

“These early observations gave us more information about the asteroid’s trajectory, which we then projected into the future,” Richard Moissl, head of Planetary Defense at the European Space Agency, said in a statement. “We could see its future paths around the Sun, and in 2052 it could come dangerously close to Earth. The more the asteroid was observed, the greater the risk.”

What would happen if it crashed?

Calculations, at the time, determined that it could be seen as a possible impact risk in the future, but after collecting more data and performing more calculations to reduce the orbit’s range, scientists point to a safer orbit for the asteroid in question. , hence it can be concluded that it is not as threatening as initially thought.

In any case, it is not an asteroid comparable to causing an extinction, given its size, but it could cause a lot of damage to our planet. Its approximate size is similar to that of an object that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That object caused injuries and extensive property damage, but also broke up on re-entry, preventing wider devastation.

Images of the asteroid from May 24 allowed astronomers to refine the dangerous asteroid’s trajectory, ruling out an impact in 2052 and removing it from the high-risk list. At magnitude 27 on the scale used by astronomers to describe the brightness of objects in the sky, 2021 QM1 was 250 million times fainter than the faintest stars visible to the unaided eye from a dark spot.

ESA’s Planetary Defense Office, the NEOCC and astronomers around the world are continually watching our cosmos to keep us safe , working together to ensure we know well in advance if an asteroid is discovered on a collision course with Earth.

Reference: Impact in 2052 ruled out as ESA counts down to Asteroid Day / European Space Agency (ESA) / European Southern Observatory (ESO) /

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