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An asteroid not much larger than a football stadium could collide with the planet if nothing is done to prevent it. If it strikes a city, it will have devastating effects similar to a non-radioactive nuclear bomb. Currently, there are around 25,000 asteroids measuring roughly 460-feet long in near-Earth space, with about 15,000 of them yet to be discovered.

One possible way to prevent these asteroids from striking Earth is by altering their trajectory through intentional crashes with small spacecraft. In September 2022, a spacecraft the size of a van collided with a harmless near-Earth asteroid called Dimorphos at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour. This experiment, known as the DART mission, successfully changed the orbit of the asteroid around a larger space rock called Didymos.

However, despite being hailed as a success, the DART mission resulted in some unexpected consequences. A study suggests that the boulders produced as a result of the impact will not pose a threat to Earth. However, these boulders are likely to cross the orbit of Mars over the next 20,000 years.

This raises concerns about the long-term impact of planetary defense experiments like DART. The study emphasizes the importance of continued research and monitoring to understand fully the implications of redirecting asteroids in near-Earth space.

In conclusion, preventing an asteroid collision with Earth requires continuous research and monitoring. While experiments like DART can be successful in altering trajectories and preventing immediate impacts on Earth, unexpected consequences must be carefully considered and studied before implementing such methods on a larger scale.

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