by Stephen Von Worley on September 3, 2010

Although interplanetary space is less frantic than it was in arcade classic Asteroids, scientists estimate that 25,000,000 football-field-sized rocks float around the solar system. Should one rendezvous with our big blue marble, we’d be in for a seriously bad day in the worst disaster movie kind of way.

For decades, astronomers have scanned the skies for such space rocks, and recently, researcher Scott Manley animated their many discoveries:

After briefly appearing in white, each newly-found asteroid is colored by its threat level: Earth Crossers in red, near passers-by in yellow, and others in green. The glittering waves of discovery follow the Earth around its orbit, starting slowly in the early ’80s and accelerating to the fever pace of 2010′s automated Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.

Great job, everyone! Thanks for keeping us safe. Now, when exactly do you think the technology will trickle down to a mosquito early warning system?

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