New day means another new asteroid is expected to pass by Earth at an extremely close distance. NASA, which is one of the primary space agencies in the world, has issued an asteroid alert against a space rock that is hurtling towards Earth. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for keeping an eye on the sky for rogue asteroids which could potentially threaten Earth. The organisation has now flagged this space rock as a Potentially Hazardous Object due to it heading for close approach to the planet today.
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 WV8. What’s shocking is this asteroid is nearly 95 feet wide, which is the size of a commercial aircraft! The asteroid is expected to fly past Earth very closely today, December 6, at a distance of just 5.9 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 25845 kilometers per hour.
Although this asteroid is not expected to impact Earth any time soon, a slight deviation in its path due to interaction with the planet’s gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it hurtling towards the planet with catastrophic consequences.
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2022 WV8 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. It was discovered recently on November 27. This asteroid takes 1227 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 520 million kilometers and nearest distance is 151 million kilometers.
NASA keeps a watch on these asteroids by studying data collected by various telescopes and observatories such as the Pan-STARRS, the Catalina Sky Survey and the NEOWISE telescope. NASA also has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to gain even greater in-depth data using a new orbiter. NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future.
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