A NASA program predicted the impact of a small asteroid over Ontario, Canada


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In the early hours of Saturday, November 19, the sky over southern Ontario, Canada, lit up as a small, harmless asteroid streaked through the sky high in Earth’s atmosphere, crashing, and possibly scattering small meteorites over the southern coast of Lake Ontario. Fireball was no surprise. The asteroid is about 1 meter (3 feet) wide, and was detected 3 1/2 hours before impact, making this event the sixth time in history that a small asteroid has been tracked in space before impacting Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA is tasked with detecting and tracking NEOs that could survive passing through Earth’s atmosphere and causing damage on Earth, but these objects can also be detected much earlier than small objects like an asteroid that broke up over the south. Ontario. Such small asteroids pose no danger to Earth, but they could be a useful test of NASA’s planetary defense capabilities for detection, tracking, orbit determination, and impact prediction.

said Kelly Fast, program director for near-Earth object observations at the Office for Planetary Defense Coordination.PDCO) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Such harmless impacts become automatic exercises in the real world and give us confidence that NASA’s planetary defense systems are able to inform the response to the possibility of a dangerous impact by a larger object.”

The discovery of the asteroid was funded by NASA Catalina Sky Survey, which is headquartered at the University of Arizona in Tucson, on the evening of November 18 during its routine NEO searches. The observations were quickly reported to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) – the internationally recognized clearing house for location measurements of small celestial bodies – the data was then automatically sent to NEO confirmation page.

NASA’s Scout Impact Risk Assessment Systemwhich is managed by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, automatically fetched the new data from that page and began calculating the object’s likely trajectory and the chances of it impacting. CNEOS calculates every known near-Earth asteroid orbit to provide assessments of potential collision risks in support of NASA’s PDCO.

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