Data InsightsOver 33,000 near-Earth asteroids have been detected since 1990
April 30, 2024Edouard Mathieu

Over 33,000 near-Earth asteroids have been detected since 1990

Graph titled 'Near-Earth asteroids discovered over time' from Our World in Data, showing the cumulative number of discovered asteroids with an orbit close to Earth from 1990 to 2023. The graph displays three layers: asteroids larger than 1 kilometer in dark purple at the bottom, those between 140 meters and 1 kilometer in purple in the middle, and smaller than 140 meters in orange at the top. The overall trend shows a significant increase over time. The data source is credited to the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (2024). A note clarifies that Near-Earth asteroids are defined as those whose closest approach to the Sun is less than 1.3 astronomical units (AU), with 1 AU being the distance from Earth to the Sun.

Since the late 20th century, astronomers and space agencies have taken steps to monitor the threat of large asteroids passing near Earth. International initiatives were established to detect, track, and characterize these celestial bodies to safeguard our planet from possible collisions.

As the chart shows, more than 33,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered and tracked since 1990. NASA estimates that over 90% of all the near-Earth objects larger than 1 kilometer have already been discovered.

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