8 février 2017

Les météorites posent une menace réelle

C'est ce que nous enseigne ce récent et étonnant événement:

Early Monday morning, while the US East Coast was making coffee, dropping kids off at school, and cursing in traffic, a space rock as big as a 10-story building slipped past Earth.

The asteroid, dubbed 2017 AG13, was discovered only Saturday by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, according to an email from Slooh, a company that broadcasts live views of space.

It's between 50 and 111 feet (15 to 34 meters) long, and when it swung by Earth, 2017 AG3 was moving at 9.9 miles per second (16 kilometers per second). The near-Earth object, or NEO, came within about half the distance that the moon is from Earth, according to Slooh.

(...) What would have happened if the asteroid had plowed into our atmosphere?

(...) However, according to Slooh, 2017 AG3 was "roughly the same size as the asteroid that struck Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013," so the on-the-ground effects — including shattered windows and slightly damaged buildings — may have been similar.

(...) Such objects pose a dire risk to humanity since they can release many times the energy of a thermonuclear bomb if they strike our planet — and yet we're mostly blind to them as Earth drifts through a shooting gallery.

Yet last week, NASA chose for the second time not to fully fund NEOCam with $450 million.


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