As the NASA Center for Near Earth Object Studies enters its third decade of existence, the Space Agency shared an animation showing every asteroid it has encountered since 1998.
This animation covers every asteroid or comet in orbit that has entered our solar system within 121 million miles of the Sun and within 30 million miles of Earth orbit around the Sun. NASA says that there are more than 18,000 known near-Earth objects and that they discover them at a rate of about 40 per week.
In the video below, the Space Agency says the animation shows all the known asteroids discovered in our solar system between January 1, 1999 and January 31 this year. The blue dots represent near-Earth asteroids and the orange dots represent asteroids between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter:
"For about 20 years CNEOS (Center for Near Earth Object Studies) has been NASA's central hub for the exact Mapping the lanes of all known NEOs, predicting their imminent close approaches, reliably assessing their impact on our planet and providing that information to astronomers worldwide as well as to the general public, "the space agency said in a press release.
"The first and most important step in assessing the impact risk of an asteroid or comet is to determine if the orbit of a particular object traverses Earth's orbit – and how close it actually is to our planet."
CNEOS ( @NASA 's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies) maintains a database of all known asteroids that is constantly updated with new discoveries. A customizable table of near-by asteroids can be found at https://t.co/ocjetQuyyu
– Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) May 15, 2018
Since the founding of the department, formerly known as the Near-Earth Object Observations Program, the discovery of asteroids and comets in our solar system has increased tenfold , The original goal of the department was to capture and catalog up to 90 percent of all near-Earth objects larger than one kilometer within its first 10 years of existence.
NASA says the original US Congress goal was "surpassed" in 1998. However, a new Congress objective called for the group to detect at least 90 percent of near-Earth objects less than 450 feet by 2020. 19659003] "These smaller asteroids can not pose a threat of global catastrophe if they hit Earth, but they could still cause massive regional devastation and loss of life, especially if they occur near a metropolitan area," says the space agency.
"CNEOS continues to improve its orbital analysis tools, image and graphics rendering capabilities and updates to its Web sites to provide PDCO, the astronomical community and the public with the most up-to-date information on NEOs."
There have been a few decades in our office. Do not you believe us? Watch the video! We look forward to entering our third decade @NASA planetary defense, calculating high-precision orbits for asteroids and comets, and mapping their positions in the solar system. pic.twitter.com/TJ2yfgDqU0
– Asteroid Clock (@AsteroidWatch) July 24, 2018