Asteroid passes between Earth and moon orbit; 21 more to pass over next three weeks

near-earth-object

With no end in sight, trends show that over 125,000 near-Earth objects could be orbiting Earth just five years from now, adding to congestion

A recently discovered Apollo class asteroid named 2021 EF1 whizzed between the moon’s orbit to Earth on Monday at a distance of 173,844 miles. A near graze in cosmic terms. 

Passing at about one-third of the average distance to the moon, the 78-foot-wide space rock is only one of many that are set to pass by this month.

According to the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s Near-Earth object close approach data, a total of 21 more will pass in March alone. And things are not letting up. In fact, the total number of NEOs has ramped up drastically over the past five years. This could signify that the Earth is headed through a debris field of some type. 

In March of 2016, NASA had cataloged 13,965 near-Earth objects. Today in 2020, NASA has cataloged a total of 25,255 NEOs. This means that the number of asteroids has nearly doubled over a 5-year span. 

The following chart shows the snowballing number of known Near-Earth Objects, also known as near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), versus time.

The staggering increase in number and frequency is alarming and raises the potential for the Earth to be impacted.

Just think, an asteroid capable of wiping out an entire continent just passed by Earth last Friday and went virtually unreported. The object identified by NASA as 99942 Apophis caused quite the scare in December of 2004 when its close approach data showed a 2.7% probability of impacting the Earth or moon. 

The colossal stone about twice the size of the Seattle Space Needle will make another close pass on April 13, 2029, leaving some researchers on edge. 

Pointing out the obvious, it’s only a matter of time until one or more of these objects catch Earthlings off-guard. Adding credence to this theory, the American Meteor Society has already tracked a total of 1,391 fireball events in 2021. The stark increase has prompted governments worldwide to prepare for what is to come. 

Are you prepared for disasters from space?

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