‘ve seen films like \”Armageddon,\” you know the potential threat asteroids can be for Earth. To meet that threat, NASA has built a map like no other: a plot of every dangerous asteroid that could potentially endanger our planet … at least the ones we know about.
NASA released the new map of \”potentially hazardous asteroids\” on Aug. 2 in a post to its online Planetary Photojournal overseen by the agency\’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The map shows the orbital paths of more than 1,400 asteroids known creep too close to Earth for comfort. None of the asteroids mapped pose an impact threat to Earth within the next 100 years, agency officials said.
\”These are the asteroids considered hazardous because they are fairly large (at least 460 feet or 140 meters in size), and because they follow orbits that pass close to the Earth\’s orbit (within 4.7 million miles or 7.5 million kilometers),\” NASA officials explained in the image description. [See photos of potentially dangerous asteroids seen by NASA]
The asteroid map shows a dizzying swarm of overlapping blue ellipses (the asteroid orbits) surrounding the sun. The orbits of Earth, Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter are also visible to put the asteroid orbits in perspective on a solar system-wide scale.
If you\’re worried about a rogue asteroid or comet obliterating life as we know it this week, don\’t panic just yet. Just because the asteroids in the new NASA map are classified as \”potentially hazardous\” — scientists call them PHAs in NASA-speak — that doesn\’t mean they are an imminent threat to the Earth, NASA said.