The solar system, like its closest neighbors, is literally filled with asteroids. Most of these objects will never intersect with us, but some of them will actually pose or will pose a threat to our planet in the future. So, 65 million years ago, the asteroid Chiksulub already made a real “doomsday” on Earth, destroying dinosaurs and other animals. In a paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers report an artificial neural network that identified several asteroids potentially dangerous to Earth. These eleven asteroids are predicted to collide with our planet after 2131. According to the authors of the study, time is a very important resource in the search for a way to prevent the asteroid from falling onto our only home.
The incredible successes of AI
An artificial neural network developed by scientists from Leiden University (Netherlands) was able to identify up to 11 new asteroids that are considered dangerous and could collide with our planet after 2131. A neural network called HOI (Hazardous Object Identifier), which in Dutch means “hello”, is able to predict the trajectory of asteroids, no matter how remote they are today. Researchers modeled the orbits of the Sun and planets for the next 10,000 years. Then they turned back the clock to see what was happening on this regressive time trajectory, including hitherto identified asteroids and their orbital distribution.
The neural network received information about all existing asteroids thanks to the newly created library of asteroids. Thus, the neural network analyzed the trajectories of 2,000 asteroids previously identified by NASA to determine whether there is a chance of an asteroid falling to Earth in the near future.
As the authors of the study write, if you turn back the clock, you can see that a lot of known asteroids fell to Earth. So you can create a library of orbits of asteroids that ever fell to the surface of our planet. The artificial intelligence system has selected 11 asteroids not previously identified by NASA as dangerous. Moreover, these objects were not registered as potentially problematic. However, the diameter of each of them is more than 100 meters, and the mass is enough to create a catastrophic explosive force. Sooner or later, these space wanderers may collide with our planet. Although the probability of their fall to Earth is very small or equal to zero, in the period from 2131 to 2923, these asteroids will come closer to us more than 10 times closer than the Moon.
Why were dangerous asteroids not discovered before?
The fact that 11 asteroids were not previously identified as potentially dangerous is that the orbit of these objects is chaotic. As a result, they are not taken into account by the current software of space organizations. In the future, researchers intend to improve the system to be able to anticipate dangerous spans with much greater accuracy. According to the New York Post, the work made it clear that the technique used works. However, to improve the results, more information is needed. The main problem is that interruptions in orbit calculations can lead to important changes.