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A new map has been devised by NASA, which shows frequency of small asteroid impacts from 1994 to 2013 and it has provided clues on larger ones that could pose a danger to Earth. NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) Program reveals that small asteroids frequently enter and disintegrate in the Earth’s atmosphere with random distribution around the globe.
Released to the scientific community, the map visualizes data gathered by U.S. government sensors from 1994 to 2013. It indicated that Earth’s atmosphere was impacted by small asteroids, resulting in a bolide (or fireball), on 556 separate occasions in a 20-year period. Almost all asteroids of this size disintegrate in the atmosphere and are usually harmless. The notable exception was the Chelyabinsk event which was the largest asteroid to hit Earth in this period.
The new data could help scientists better refine estimates of the distribution of the sizes of NEOs including larger ones that could pose a danger to Earth. Finding and characterizing hazardous asteroids to protect Earth has been high priority for NASA. It is one of the reasons NASA has increased by a factor of 10 investments in asteroid detection, characterization and mitigation activities over the last five years.
Source : dnaindia