This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

27 February 2006

Cumulative Impact Probability of Top 98 Near Earth Asteroids (as of Feb. 27, 2006) = 1 in 206 (with qualifications)

An interesting question related to the NEO threat is sa follows: "What is the actual risk of an object hitting the earth?" This should be a simple number the general public can easily understand. However, there are many qualifications experts want to include for such a number.

In response to that question, here is quick and dirty way to obtain a number representative of the risk using the most recent data.

I took Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) impact risk statistics for the top 98 NEAs from JPL (Source: updated February 27, 2006 and generated a cumulative impact probability for the top NEAs from this list.

So, taking the cumulative impact probability (if it is accurate now and in the future) for the top 98 NEAs from this list of this date, one obtains a chance of an impact of approximately 1 in 206.

Most of this risk comes from the top 10-20 objects in the 98 (ranked in terms of impact probability, from highest to lowest). This data should be coupled to potential damage since these objects are not all the same in composition and size. In addition, normally the chance of impact is lowered as more observations are made. As others have stated, it is the asteroid we do not know about that may most likely hit us.

Link: Recently Observed Objects Risk Scale from JPL

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