The astronomers of St Petersburg University have prepared new scenarios of how asteroids can collide with Earth and studied how we can combat the threat from outer space.

The study is published in Ecological Bulletin of Research Centers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and was supported by SPbU and RFBR.

The scientists worldwide are observing how the celestial bodies are moving to keep us safe from asteroids and comets hitting Earth. Primarily, they detect the possibilities of potential asteroids or comet impacts with Earth. The research calculations indicate that there are 600 asteroids, although this number is constantly changing, that have no chance – zero – of colliding with Earth. You can follow the NASA web-site to stay up-to-date.

The probability of major collisionы is quite small: one in million chance of hitting Earth. Yet the scientists are constantly discovering new bodies that can pose a potential threat.

SPbU Professor Leonid Sokolov

In the end of 2017, the scientists detected two asteroids heading towards Earth: one in thousand chance of hitting the planet, but they didn’t hit Earth. Among the most potentially dangerous asteroids is Apophis that can hit Earth in 2050–2060s. Later, another three objects can be heading towards Earth: 2015 RN35 and 2008 EX5 in the second half of this century, while 2013 XK22 in the next century.

The research findings have been published in Solar System Research and were reported at the international conferences “2017 IAA Planetary Defense Conference” and “Near-Earth Astronomy – 2017”. The research was carried out at the SPbU Research Park.

The SPbU’s scientists have made painstaking enquiries into how these potentially dangerous asteroids are moving. The scientists developed new methods, algorithms, and programmes to detect potential impacts with Earth, Moon, and other celestial bodies. The scientists detected about 18 potential impacts of Apophis on the Moon and 100 potential impacts on Earth.

“Potential risks of asteroids heading our way are not only associated with the collision threat, but allow us to use the gravity assist maneuver to alter the path and speed of the asteroid. We can deflect the asteroids and “drop” them on the Moon”, — said Professor Sokolov.

The SPbU’s scientists have calculated a vast number of possible trajectories and characteristics of potentially dangerous asteroids and detected the possibilities of asteroids heading or colliding with Earth.  They are still working on developing the scenarios of how asteroids can hit Earth and how we can avoid collisions.