Asteroid Near Earth Common, But Could A NEA Hitting The Earth Cause The End Of The World?

An asteroid near Earth may be more common than you think, but do any of these NEAs (Near Earth Asteroids) have any chance of hitting Earth and causing the end of the world?

In a related report by The Inquisitr, even Pat Robertson says an asteroid near Earth will be our undoing but when CNN said the end of the world was coming in 2041 the news network was called out by NASA. Of course, the asteroid near Earth nicknamed The Beast is what has everyone worrying nowadays:

“When the Beast does pass earth, it will be a mere 777,000 miles away, which is roughly about 3.25 times the distance between the Earth and the moon. Although researchers have said there is no chance it’s going to hit Earth, if it did there would be major damage. Traveling at a speed that is 17 times faster than a shot from a high-speed rifle, the Beast asteroid will be at its closest point to earth on Sunday at 1:56 am EST.”

As it turns out, scientists have been finding more and more asteroids near Earth. In fact, NASA says that since 1898 the number of Near Earth Objects (NEO) has already passed 10,000 as of 2013. Estimates claim that there are potentially millions of rocks floating around, although most people are more worried about the big ones like The Beast, and for good reason. Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program, says that unknown asteroid near Earth could potentially pack a big punch:

“Finding 10,000 near-Earth objects is a significant milestone. But there are at least 10 times that many more to be found before we can be assured we will have found any and all that could impact and do significant harm to the citizens of Earth.”

So what happens if an asteroid near Earth does hit us? If you recall your basic physics class, then force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. So it really depends on the relative velocity of the space object when it impacts. For example, the Russian meteorite was only 17 meters when it hit Earth’s atmosphere, injured 1,600 people, and is believed to only represent less than one percent of the floating threats out there. The Beast, on the other hand, is estimated to be about 10 to 20 times larger in size and could cause an explosion relative to a nuclear weapon.

Of course, The Beast isn’t the baddest animal around. 1036 Ganymed measures 25 miles across while the majority of NEOs measure less than 0.6 miles. But a good 10 percent of all the asteroids near Earth are larger than 3,300, but the good news is that having an asteroid hitting Earth is said to be a low probability. The biggest example is April 13, 2029, when NASA’s JPL estimates the Apophis asteroid will approach Earth no closer than 18,300 miles and should be visible to the naked eye in the sky. The composition of the NEA is still being analyzed but their standard dynamical model says 2036 is more dangerous, giving Apophis a small estimated chance of impact of less than one in 45,000for the date of April 13, 2036.

Are you concerned an asteroid near Earth may cause the end of the world in our lifetimes?