Forget Current Earth-passing Asteroid, Centaurs are Credible Threat to Earth
Christmas Eve asteroid is all set to zoom past earth, but the space rock will not affect earthlings. It doesn’t mean earth is safe for a long time. The only habitable planet in the solar system is at higher risk of having a collision with giant comets than previously thought, as per a new study by Armagh Observatory and the University of Buckingham researchers.
The study also suggested that space agencies like NASA should keep a close on distant space objects to protect our home planet from massive destruction in future. Many past studies researchers have claimed that there are hundreds of massive comets, also known as centaurs, in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. These centaurs are more dangerous for earth than asteroids that are scheduled to cross the Blue Planet in future. A single centaur could be bigger than earth-crossing asteroids found to date, according to scientists.
A centaur, covered with ice and dust, could be approximately 30 to 60 miles wide. Usually, these space bodies cross other solar system planets like Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, but their chances of hitting earth could not be ignored, as per the new study.
Study researchers predict, “Such an incident could occur once in 40,000 to 100,000 years. When such a comet would come closer to the Sun, it would gradually disintegrate, producing larger fragments and dust and flooding the inner solar system with cometary debris”.
Some previous studies have even suggested that a comet hit earth about 65 million years ago, and removed all dinosaur species of the planet.
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