It’s surely not a comfortable thought that the Solar System is teeming with asteroids located in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But we all have to learn to cope with the idea. While the vast majority of those space rocks are inactive, a really “big wiseguy” might pay us an unwanted visit someday.
Scott Sheppard, who is an astronomer with the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy, now adds special attention to NEOs (near-Earth objects). A near-Earth object is defined as a space object, such as a comet or asteroid that passes close to the orbit of our planet. You have already guessed that there’s no reason to open a bottle of champagne if a NEO appears.
Astronomers should look more for NEOs in the Sun’s direction
According to Phys.org, Sheppard claims that astronomers should watch out more for NEOs coming from the direction of our star.
The scientist believes that astronomers have partially ignored NEOs that are located somewhere between our planet and the Sun. This might be because of the fact that astronomers were mostly focusing on spotting objects during the night when our star was not dominating the sky with its light and might. Therefore, it’s not mandatory to be a scientist to figure out that astronomers might have missed something very important that the world needed to know about. Let’s all hope that there’s no reason to consider moving our luggage to Mars sooner than expected or make Bruce Willis assume the role of Harry Stamper once again as he did in the Armageddon movie.
If you still feel too safe on the planet, you can keep in mind that the asteroid belt that’s located between Mars and Jupiter is estimated to have around 1.1-1.9 million asteroids that have diameters larger than 1 kilometer.
Astronomer Scott Sheppard published his perspective in the Science journal.