NASA has released a new map of every single asteroid that entered Earth’s atmosphere from 1994 to 2013. Although almost all 556 of the asteroids disintegrated harmlessly, this well splattered map shows us exactly how common asteroids strikes are and how often our atmosphere saves our skins.
This map from NASA’s Near Earth Objects (NEO) Program is based off of government sensors, and it is more complete than a previous map based off of instruments used to detect nuclear blasts. The largest dot is over Chelyabinsk, Russia, where a 9000-tonne chunk of space rock memorably exploded in 2013.
The heat and pressure of passing through Earth’s air breaks up the smaller asteroids whose paths collide with the Earth’s. But there are a lot of rocks slinging through space, big rocks too, and we aren’t doing a very good of tracking them. [NASA]