WEFOUNDnear earth objects asteroids


any asteroid, comet, or meteoroid whose orbit intersects that of the Earth and has the potential to collide with Earth; abbr. NEO

ESA > Our Activities > Operations > Space Situational Awareness

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets of sizes ranging from metres to tens of kilometres that orbit the Sun and whose orbits come close to that of Earth’s. Of the more than 600 000 known asteroids in our Solar System, more than 16 000 are NEOs. 

An example of a NEO is 25143 Itokawa , an object about 300 m in diameter that was visited by the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa in 2005.

any asteroid, comet, or meteoroid whose orbit intersects that of the Earth and has the potential to collide with Earth; abbr. NEO

any asteroid, comet, or meteoroid whose orbit intersects that of the Earth and has the potential to collide with Earth; abbr. NEO

ESA > Our Activities > Operations > Space Situational Awareness

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets of sizes ranging from metres to tens of kilometres that orbit the Sun and whose orbits come close to that of Earth’s. Of the more than 600 000 known asteroids in our Solar System, more than 16 000 are NEOs. 

An example of a NEO is 25143 Itokawa , an object about 300 m in diameter that was visited by the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa in 2005.

Unlike most meteors , NEOs can be quite big and would do a lot of damage if they were to collide with Earth. The 1.6 km wide Baringer crater (shown right) was created by a meteor that was just 40 metres across.

It is possible that a large NEO may actually hit the Earth at some time in the future. Although this is very unlikely to happen in our lifetime, astronomers are trying very hard to find and track as many NEOs as possible in order to see if they might be a danger to us in the future.

If astronomers can find big Earth-threatening NEOs early enough, it should be possible to "push" them out of the way and stop them crashing into us. However, any that do get through could have devastating results.


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