Epidemics, inflation, what more could we fear? Perhaps the end of humanity, caused by a huge asteroid? Well, a discovery could make this last hypothesis possible. Here's everything you need to know about it.
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A planet-killing asteroid
At the end of September, American astronomers made important discoveries of several new asteroids. So far, nothing unusual since asteroids are discovered more often than not during the year. But among these, there is a 'planet-killer' asteroid. A name that is not at all reassuring.
However, the experts are not frightened by it. According to them, it is only 'potentially dangerous' for the Earth. Indeed, it is not certain that its orbit will cross that of the Earth. Moreover, it remains 'very far' from our planet. Are you reassured? Don't be, because this asteroid is simply the largest dangerous space object discovered since 2014!
A 'devastating impact'
Its name is 2022 AP7 and its width is 1.5 kilometres. It is located on an axis between the Earth, Venus and the Sun. 2022 AP7 is several million kilometres from our civilisation. But its future trajectory is complicated to guess, knowing that it can be modified by the gravitational forces exerted on it.
According to Scott S. Sheppard, an astronomer at the Earth & Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington D.C., if 2022 AP7 were to collide with Earth, it would have a 'devastating impact on life as we know it'. Simply put, it would be a mass extinction. One last piece of not-so-reassuring information for the road: there would be between 20 and 50 large NEOs of this kind left to detect.
This article was translated from Gentside FR.
Sky News: ''Planet killer' asteroid found hiding in sun's glare'
The Guardian: 'Huge ‘planet killer’ asteroid discovered – and it’s heading our way'