Our Galaxy is bigger than any of us could ever imagine, which automatically raises even bigger concerns that Earth could be as vulnerable as a sheep among hungry wolves. Astronomers are still working on reliable defense systems to deal with dangerous asteroids. At this point, humanity’s best bet is to hopefully detect on time such space rocks and eventually warn people of the area targeted.
Another asteroid known as 2018 VP1 is headed generally in our direction, and it will reach its closest point this November. However, there’s a good chance that it will still miss us.
The 2020 QG asteroid visited us undetected
A new asteroid the size of a car flew past Earth at 27,600 mph several days ago, on August 16. While this is not something new at all, the concern is that space agencies didn’t see the space rock coming. A NASA-funded program was able to detect it only a few hours after its closest approach to our planet at 1,830 miles. Unfortunately, this is another proof that NASA, ESA, JAXA, or other space agencies cannot possibly monitor the whole sky for cosmic threats.
Paul Chodas, the director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, explained why astronomers failed into detecting the asteroid on time:
There’s not much we can do about detecting inbound asteroids coming from the sunward direction, as asteroids are detected using optical telescopes only (like ZTF), and we can only search for them in the night sky,
He also added:
The idea is that we discover them on one of their prior passages by our planet, and then make predictions years and decades in advance to see whether they have any possibility of impacting.
We’re eagerly waiting for new info about the 2018 VP1 asteroid because astronomers should soon provide new data about its trajectory.