Why is this asteroid called a planet killer?

A team of astronomers from different parts of the planet have discovered a asteroid which gains a particular name. Dubbed the “planet killer”, 2022 AP7 is the most dangerous asteroid to the existence of life on Earth discovered in at least the last eight years.

Its size is not defined with certainty – estimates put it at around 1 km to 2.3 km in diameter. Other data indicate that the size is 1.5 km. The name comes from the possibility that it, with this size, destroys our planet. The study was revealed in an article in The Astronomical Journal.

The “planet killer” was discovered during research with Dark energy Camera, in Chile, one of the largest astronomical observation projects that exists. It could also be among the most dangerous asteroids ever discovered by science.

This name is scary, but there is no need to be afraid, at least for now. This is because it is far from Earth and the chances of AP7 hitting our system are quite slim at the moment.

“Over time, the asteroid will begin to cross Earth’s orbit closer to where Earth is, but that will be centuries in the future, and we don’t know the orbit of 2022 AP7 with enough of precision to say much about its dangers in the centuries to come.” , says the group’s lead scientist, Scott Sheppard, of the Earth and Planets Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Despite this, he said in an interview with Euronews Next that “the twilight survey is scanning the area inside the orbits of Earth and Venus looking for more asteroids. So far we have some found two large ones near Earth about a kilometer in diameter.

The other two found are 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH27, which, despite their similar size, have orbits far from our planet.

And the future?

If, for the moment, there is no risk, we fear for the future. THE Nasa has invested in defense tests against extraterrestrial objects. Recently, a spacecraft from the Dart mission collided with a small asteroid that could hit Earth.🇧🇷 But the same cannot be said if an asteroid of about 1 km comes into our orbit.

For Sheppard, it would have a devastating impact on life as we know it. The surface would likely cool, as sunlight could not easily reach it.

“It would be a mass extinction event the likes of which we haven’t seen on Earth in millions of years,” he says.

For the director of the Spaceguard Center in England, the chances of a collision are low and in the very distant future. Long enough to have a way to counter the threat.

“But if it goes wrong, we could lose 25% to 40% of the population, in addition to a failure of the essential infrastructures which sustain humanity today”, he concludes to Euronews Next.

Now we hope the predictions are right and that we won’t have to worry about the AP7 2022 at any time.

With information from astronomical Newspaper and Euronews

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