The meteorite that exploded in the sky over Chelyabinsk in 2013 was no more than 20 meters in diameter. But the energy of the explosion was enough to damage thousands of buildings and to injure over one and a half thousand people.
The event showed that small asteroids cannot be ignored, and such “Chelyabinsk” cases over the next 100 years can happen very, very much.
According to the calculations of Chinese astronomers, who shared their new findings in the journal Acta Astronomica Sinica, in the next hundred years, asteroids up to 100 meters in size could threaten to fall to Earth over 700 times.
Moreover, modeling has shown that there can be much more asteroids threatening the Earth – from 100 thousand to a million. Until now, when tracking asteroids dangerous to the Earth, objects with a diameter of less than 100 meters were simply ignored.
Asteroids of the “Chelyabinsk” type are extremely difficult to capture also for the reason that they come from the direction of the Sun, where it is impossible to direct ordinary telescopes.
The Chinese authorities have allocated significant funds in recent years to develop solutions for planetary defense. This is being done not only to mitigate the asteroid hazard, but also in anticipation of a tougher confrontation in space with the United States.
China does not hide that the asteroid tracking system will be integrated into the military defense system and will become part of the national security strategy.