After an asteroid the size of a small refrigerator recently whipped by Earth at an altitude of only 1,800 miles, significantly closer than the ring of communication satellites in geostationary orbit and only five times the average orbit of the International Space Station, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a new video explaining how often these space rocks actually slam into our fragile planet, and how difficult spotting evidence of much larger ancient impacts can be.
Narrated by Marina Brozovic, a NASA asteroid impact specialist, the nearly minute and a half video answers those questions and more, and her responses might surprise you.
For example, did you know that impacts occur on a regular basis, but most of those space rocks burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere? According to Brozovic, approximately 15,000 tons of space dust ranging from rocks down to minute particles slam into Earth’s atmosphere each year.
Still, some major events have taken place. The most recent example was a huge explosion of an inbound asteroid over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia back in 2013. That asteroid was the size of a small building. The asteroid’s explosion, which occurred 20 kilometers above the surface, reportedly shattered windows across the city and deposited tiny pieces of the original rock across a wide area.
This is the latest in a string of exciting videos released by the U.S. space administration in the last year. Last December NASA put out an animated video titled “7 Minutes of Terror” to show depict the difficulties involved in the Mars Perseverance Rover landing. More recently, NASA released a three minute video that was stitched together from dozens of images shot by the Curiosity Rover. It is the first high-definition video of its type depicting the red planet’s rock-strewn surface.
The new video also talks about historically massive impacts, as well as how frequently they occur in the present day. It is definitely worth watching all of the way to the end.
Follow and connect with author Christopher Plain on Twitter: @plain_fiction