Special Report

The 25 Most Dangerous Things Around Earth Right Now

Source: Courtesy of NASA

21. 2019 DS1
> Type of object: Asteroid

The next Sentry-listed risk from a near-Earth object is the recently-discovered asteroid DS1, which poses a 1 in 800 risk of hitting Earth in 2082. Even if such a collision occurred, because of its small size — just 82 feet — the asteroid would likely be destroyed upon entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Source: Courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

22. 2010 RF12
> Type of object: Asteroid

RF 12 is a very small asteroid — with a diameter of only 23 feet — that came within 49,000 miles of Antarctica in 2010, the year it was discovered. It is expected to come close to Earth many times in the future, with a 5% chance of a collision in September of 2095.

Source: dottedhippo / Getty Images

23. Other Asteroids on the Sentry Risk Table
> Type of object: Asteroids

Of the nearly 22,000 near-Earth objects, less than a thousand are listed as a risk by NASA’s Sentry monitoring program, and of these, 43 are considered potentially hazardous objects. However, the list is constantly changing as new observations are made. It is very possible that currently lower-rated asteroids will surpass the risk level of the top 10 listed above.

Source: Courtesy of Tomruen / Wikimedia Commons

24. Undiscovered Asteroids
> Type of object: Asteroids

In the summer of 2019, scientists were stunned when a previously unknown asteroid came uncomfortably close to Earth. Dubbed 2019 OK, the asteroid, which may measure up to 427 feet in diameter, passed within 45,000 miles of our planet, less than a fifth of the distance to the moon. The explanation for the surprise is that asteroids are hard to spot. While scientists believe that 90% of the largest asteroids, over 1 kilometer in size (about 0.62 miles), are being monitored, only 1% of all asteroids over 20 meters in size (about 65.5 feet) are accounted for.

Source: Courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

25. Eros 433
> Type of object: Asteroid in Mars’ orbit

Eros is an enormous asteroid — about 14 miles in diameter — that intersects Mars’s orbit as the planet circles the sun, occasionally coming close to Earth’s orbit. Because its trajectory is unstable and easily disrupted, scientists see some chance that the asteroid could eventually cross to our orbit and, potentially, strike Earth. It would be a devastating blow. While scientists see a significant chance of this happening in the next 1.14 million years, there is practically no chance of it happening in the next 100,000 years.

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