Image source：Reidar Hahn/Fermilab VMS/PA
In a recent study published in the Astronomical Journal, astronomers at the Carnegie Institution for Science reported their discovery of three near-Earth asteroids.
They used the large-field Dark Energy Camera (DECam) mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Torollo Hills Intercontinental Observatory in Chile to look for potentially threatening objects (PHOs) in Earth’s orbit and inside Venus’ orbit.
In 2021, they observed two asteroids.
And they named them 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH270, respectively.
The diameters of these two asteroids are 0.3-0.6 km and 0.9-1.7 km, respectively.
In addition, they named the latest discovered asteroid as 2022 AP7.
This asteroid has a diameter of 1.1~2.3 km and is likely to be the largest potentially threatening asteroid (PHA) discovered in 8 years.
They found that both 2021 LJ4 and 2021 PH270 are located inside the Earth’s orbit and are relatively safe.
However, 2022 AP7 is crossing the Earth’s orbit.
In the future, its motion may be synchronized with Earth and will most likely be closer to Earth.
On September 27, 2022, NASA crashed a spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) into the asteroid Dimorphos at a speed of about 6.2 km/s, 11 million kilometers from Earth. Dimorphos asteroid at a speed of about 6.2 km/s, and succeeded in slightly deflecting the asteroid from its original orbit.
This first attempt suggests that in the future humans may be able to use similar methods to alter the orbit of an asteroid to avoid an impact on Earth.