Dark Asteroids Discovered, Possible Threat to Earth

An infrared space telescope, called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered several dark asteroids close to Earth that could possibly be a threat to our planet. Those asteroids are very dark and reflect less than 10% of the sunlight they receive, which makes them extremely hard to spot with traditional telescopes. However they absorb a lot of the sunlight and heat up which makes them quite bright in infrared. That’s why WISE could detect them.

Dark asteroid seen in infraredNear-Earth Object becomes visible in infrared

WISE, the new space telescope launched on December 14, 2009 is expected to discover as many as 1000 near-Earth asteroids. However according to current estimates the number of undiscovered dark asteroids capable of doing great damage if they hit Earth are over 10,000.

It seems that the odds of an asteroid impact destroying human civilization on Earth have increased dramatically since this discovery. If we don’t want to end like the dinosaurs, it would be a good idea to establish permanent and self-sufficient outposts on the Moon and perhaps Mars. That way at least, in event of a catastrophe the human race will live on. We should also work on an efficient way of detecting asteroids long before they are due to impact and deflect them on time. Science fiction movies such as Armageddon and Deep Impact depict such a scenario.

Image credits: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) by NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

5 comments on “Dark Asteroids Discovered, Possible Threat to Earth

  1. I am the only one who is terrified by this!! This is a real eye opener. I didn’t realise we were in this much danger every day.

  2. Having seen a big asteroid by eye in orbit and in the earth’s atmosphere twice (I believe them to be the same one) I think it will not be long before an extinction level event takes place. My best guess for the next possible impact is about January 2012 at 55 degrees North 179 degrees West. Size 2.5 miles diameter.

    One of my first degrees is in astrophysics.

  3. I gotta say my english is not so good now then Is there any posts about this topic in another languages? I hope u will answer me in this message.

  4. Wow scary stuff I think that we should stop titting around with free market make yourselves rich and start cooperating with each other globaly with tha aim of getting off the planet as ultimately it is the only hope for mankind.
    I think that it is entirely possible to survive as a race without a planet at all ie giant space stations that are sel sustainable this could be achieved in 40 0r 50 years if the world statrted to pool its resources.

    Yes I suppose it would be possible to survive without a planet. But it would be much better to have both our planet and the giant self sustaining space stations.
    When we will have a lot of infrastructure in space, it will be quite easy to deflect an asteroid to prevent it from hitting the Earth (or any other planet/moon we might have colonized).

  5. Wow scary stuff I think that we should stop titting around with free market make yourselves rich and start cooperating with each other globaly with tha aim of getting off the planet as ultimately it is the only hope for mankind.
    I think that it is entirely possible to survive as a race without a planet at all ie giant space stations that are sel sustainable this could be achieved in 40 0r 50 years if the world statrted to pool its resources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *