In 2005, congress mandated NASA to detect and catalog at least 90 percent of the Near-Earth Asteroids (NEOs) 450 feet in size by 2020. NASA has not met that goal.
The 450 foot size is important, because although this size sounds small for space rocks, an asteroid of that size could make the transit through the atmosphere and be a city killer.
So, not only has NASA not cataloged all the potential city killer asteroids, but they’ve lost track of asteroids they detected!
What if a lost asteroid is on a trajectory to impact Earth, but we can’t find that space rock until it’s too late?
NASA discovered asteroid 2007FT3 in 2007, but scientists lost sight of it before they could complete their prediction of its orbital path.
The data they collected puts 2007FT3 fourth on NASA’s list of potential impactors. Being fourth on the list doesn’t sound too bad unless you consider there are three other asteroids that have an even higher potential to impact Earth!
One prediction of 2007FT3’s orbital path has Earth and the missing asteroid being in the same spot in space on October 3, 2024.
NASA has identified dozens of potential impact dates as the missing asteroid speeds through the inner solar system playing dodgeball with Earth.
Most of the estimated orbits keep the asteroid millions of miles from impact, but with limited data, who knows what might happen.
Luckily, 2007 FT3 isn’t large enough for a catastrophic impact, but if that space rock landed in your back yard, you’d have quite an interesting landscaping project.
Source: A Missing Asteroid Could Hit the Earth in 2024 (yahoo.com)