Even larger asteroids and comets hit the planet less frequently, and the killer rocks measuring many miles across only hit once every few million years.
The Earth is also visited almost every single day by so-called near-Earth objects (NEOs) on “close approach” flybys.
Although a close approach can still be tens of thousands or millions of miles away, the frequency of the visits keeps astronomers and space agencies like NASA on their toes.
Three astronomers at Leiden University in the Netherlands have now discovered many of the asteroids safely orbiting Earth today, can still hit the planet in the future.
Asteroid warning: Space rocks currently though safe could hit Earth in the future (Image: GETTY)
Asteroid warning: The astronomers trained a neural network to calculate asteroid orbits (Image: GETTY)
The astronomers used a supercomputer to train an asteroid-detecting artificial neural network.
The network analysed the orbits of the eight planets racing around the Sun up to 10,000 years into the future.
Then, the astronomers wound the clocks backwards, while launching space rocks from the surface of our planet.
The simulations helped the neural network study the distribution of asteroids in the solar system.
The step also produced a hypothetical database of asteroids that could hit Earth.
Astronomer Simon Portegies Zwart from Leiden University said: “If you rewind the clock, you will see well-known asteroids land again on Earth.
If you rewind the clock, you will see well-known asteroids land again on Earth
Simon Portegies Zwart, Leiden University
“This way you can make a library of the orbits of asteroids that landed on Earth.”
This asteroid library served as a learning tool for the astronomers’ artificial network.
The method has been dubbed the Hazardous Object Identifier or HOI, which happens to mean hi or hello in Dutch.
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Asteroid news: Differences between asteroids, meteors and comets (Image: EXPRESS)
Asteroid warning: There is no currently known asteroid headed directly for Earth (Image: GETTY)
As a result of the study, the astronomers have identified 11 space rocks that could be a cause for concern in the coming years.
The asteroids will all approach the planet at least 10 times closer than the Moon and all measure more than 328ft (100m) across.
The asteroids have not been previously identified by other tracking systems because of their very chaotic orbits.
The Dutch astronomers, however, expect them all to come close to Earth between the years 2131 and 2923.
Professor Zwart said: “We now know that our method works, but we would certainly like to delve deeper in the research with a better neural network and with more input.
“The tricky part is that small disruptions in the orbit calculations can lead to major changes in the conclusions.”
Dangerous asteroids are also monitored by the US space agency NASA and its Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
NASA said: “Since their orbital paths often cross that of the Earth, collisions with near-Earth objects have occurred in the past and we should remain alert to the possibility of future close Earth approaches.
“It seems prudent to mount efforts to discover and study these objects, to characterise their sizes, compositions and structures and to keep an eye upon their future trajectories.”
But the good news is there is no asteroid or comet currently known to be headed for the planet.