No More Dangerous Asteroids? Tracking System Monitors the Sky Every 24 Hours

No More Dangerous Asteroids? Tracking System Monitors the Sky Every 24 Hours

The Solar System is loaded with huge rocks that are not big enough to form planets. Instead, they orbit around the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. You can’t tell when one of these space rocks will approach Earth one day, and it may be bigger than what humanity is prepared for.

While we don’t know if astronomers, at this point, have any realistic plans of dealing with a huge asteroid that’s heading towards our planet. there is some good news. The NASA-funded ATLAS system, meaning the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, has been expanded enough to be able of monitoring more of the sky than before and thus be on the lookout for dangerous asteroids, according to

The southern hemisphere is also covered

Only one of the two hemispheres was covered by ATLAS before, meaning that it was leaving room for plenty of asteroids to come without our knowledge.

NASA funded two more telescopes to expand the efficacy of ATLAS: one in Chile and another one in South Africa. 

But how efficient is ATLAS, to be more precise? Let’s say that an asteroid big enough to destroy an entire region approaches our planet. NASA’s tracking system is able to detect it three weeks before the possible impact. This would give humanity enough time to prepare. As for asteroids that measure roughly 20 meters wide, meaning that they can wipe out a city, ATLAS can warn us at least 24 hours before the impact.

Britt Scharringhausen, an associate professor of physics and astronomy from Beloit College, believes that even in the most terrible scenario of a giant asteroid hitting our planet, humans could still have a chance to survive. Going underground and setting up a bunker is the key.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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