A volunteer program has been introduced by ESA (European Space Agency) that enables amateur astronomers to trace the asteroids’ paths utilizing images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. This program is utilized by the ESA to identify hazardous asteroids that can run into Earth. The space agency, earlier in June, collaborated with Zooniverse, the public-research online platform, to set up the Hubble Asteroid Hunter program. Volunteers, with this initiative, can register as one of ESA’s amateur astronomers or citizen scientists.
The key objective of the volunteers is to recognize white streaks in the images that are, in fact, the imprinted trajectories of asteroids as they steer through space. Collectively, they were capable of glancing through around 11,000 Hubble images and find more than 300,000 asteroid paths. As per the ESA, the attempts of the volunteers assisted the agency in tracing asteroids that may cause severe danger to Earth.
ESA is capable of doing so by observing certain particulars about the Hubble pictures like the time and date when the image was captured by the space telescope. Also, the agency examines the asteroid trails’ direction in addition to the area in space where they surfaced. The agency, utilizing these particulars, is capable of creating an estimation of the paths of the asteroids. This enables the ESA to conclude if an asteroid will be on a crash course in the future with Earth.
Likewise, a newly found asteroid momentarily categorized high on the “risk list” of space objects of ESA, which have a greater than zero likelihood of striking Earth. In its October newsletter, Planetary Defense Office of ESA, said, “In late September, 2019 SU3 is the latest object that reached the top ten of our risk list, for a likely impact with a 1 in 400 probability of happening in year 2084. It is small-sized of around 15 m (49 ft) would cause limited effects even in case of crash.”