Asteroids that could threaten Earth are 90 percent found, NASA says

September 29, 2011

Illustration of the large asteroid that crashed into Earth some 65 million years ago. (Art by Don Davis/COURTESY OF JOURNAL NATURE)

After several weeks of irrational fears that a NASA satellite was plunging straight toward our front yards before it eventually landed in the Pacific Ocean, NASA has released some further encouraging news: The space agency has found more than 90 percent of the biggest asteroids that might pose a threat to Earth.

NASA’s sky-mapping spacecraft WISE was behind the discovery, noting that 911 of 981 of the largest asterorids — asteroids 3,300 feet wide or larger — have been found.

Scientists also say they now think there are fewer medium-sized asteroids than originally believed. New estimates say there are 19,500 asteroids out there that are between 330 feet and 3,300 feet wide.

WISE, which stands for Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, was launched in 2009 to map the entire sky of asteroids, comets, and other celestial objects.

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

national

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters