Near-Earth Objects And Their Threats To Earth

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Near-Earth Objects and their threats to Earth Our planet Earth is just a mere speck in the vastness of space which is infinite. The Earth is not alone in the space. There are eight planets in our solar system and hundreds more that have been discovered outside our solar system, and many more that have yet to be discovered. Of all these planets, ours is the only one, so far, that can sustain life. Life on Earth faces the potential to be wiped from existence by threats that lurk beyond our planet. Earth faces external threats from meteors, comets, and asteroids. What is the likelihood of an external threat destroying our planet? To answer the last question, we must first define the threats which originate in space. Some of the threats the Earth faces come from asteroids, meteors, and comets. Meteoroids are matter which orbits the sun or planetary bodies in space. They are also referred to as meteors however the term meteor actually pertains to the streak of light caused by a meteoroid entering the Earth’s atmosphere. As the meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere the friction that it generates causes it to burn up and it produces a streak of light. This is also commonly referred to as a shooting star and sometimes mistaken as a comet. When any of these threats enters the Earth’s atmosphere and impacts the Earth, they are called meteorites and are often referred to as meteors. For the purpose of this paper we refer to all the above as “meteors”. Meteors exist in space and range in size and composition. The origin of meteorites has been linked to the moon, and Mars, while the rest of the “meteors” are believed to be fragments originating from asteroids, comets, and other planetary debris. (Hamilton, 2009) Comets are composed of ice and dirt that gets stripped away from the nucleus by solar winds as the comet nears the sun. This causes the comet to form a tail that

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