1049-foot asteroid 2017 QL33 rushing towards Earth; NASA clocks speed at a fiery 24853kmph

A horrendously large 1049-foot asteroid named 2017 QL33 is approaching Earth today at a fiery 24853 kmph. Here is all that NASA informs about asteroid 2017 QL33.

| Updated on: Dec 03 2022, 10:22 IST
Are near-Earth objects DANGEROUS? Know what NASA says about scary comets, asteroids
Asteroid and Earth
1/5 Earth has objects near it, which sometimes get attracted towards the planet because of its gravitational pull. Of course, not every near-Earth object manages to reach the surface of the planet. The object needs to be large enough to survive its fiery journey through the atmosphere of the Earth. (Pixabay)
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2/5 What is a near-Earth object? Asteroids or comets that can pass within 30 million miles or 50 million kilometers of Earth's orbit are known as near-Earth objects or NEO. According to NASA, "A near-Earth object (NEO) is an asteroid or comet whose orbit brings it within a zone approximately 121 million miles (195 million kilometers) from the Sun, meaning that it can pass within about 30 million miles (50 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit." (Pixabay)
3/5 NASA further informed that the vast majority of NEOs that enter Earth’s atmosphere disintegrate before reaching the surface (and more than 100 tons of dust particles disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere daily). Those NEOs that are larger than around 98 to 164 feet (30 to 50 meters) in size could cause widespread damage in and around their impact sites. Apart from NEOs, there is another category that NASA uses. These are the potentially hazardous objects (PHO). These are near-Earth objects whose orbit brings them within 4.7 million miles (7.5 million km) of Earth’s orbit, or is greater than 500 feet (140 meters) in size. (Pixabay)
4/5 The highest risk of impact for a known asteroid is a 1 in 714 chance of impact by an asteroid designated 2009 FD in 2185. This means that the possibility that it could impact then is less than 0.2 percent. NASA said, "One asteroid that NASA is studying up close, called Bennu, has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a 2-year investigation of Bennu before plucking a sample of asteroid material off its surface and delivering it back to Earth." (Pixabay)
5/5 How can we prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth? Currently, an asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that NASA might be able to prevent. There are a few methods that NASA is studying to deflect an asteroid on a course to impact Earth. One of these techniques is called a gravity tractor—it involves a spacecraft that would rendezvous with an asteroid (but not land on its surface) and maintain its relative, optimal position to use the mutual gravity attraction between the satellite and the asteroid to slowly alter the course of the asteroid. (Pixabay)
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1049-foot Asteroid 2017 QL33 is nearing Earth today. NASA provides details. (Pixabay)

There are several near-Earth objects (NEO) ranging from humongous to small circulating in space. One of these that can prove to be dangerous for planet Earth are asteroids. Though not all the asteroids pose a threat to the planet, it is important for us to track them in order to find the ones that may be on a collision course with Earth- as happened with a small one just a few days ago. You can read the story here. Every day, NASA releases a list of asteroids that are nearing Earth. It also informs about their size, speed and chances of any of them posing a threat to humanity and the planet as a whole.

According to the latest details, a giant asteroid ranging between 459-foot to 1049-foot (140m-320m in diameter) named 2017 QL33 will be reaching very close to our planet Earth today, Saturday, December 3. Can the asteroid be dangerous for the planet? If this huge asteroid strikes or crashes on Earth, it could be very destructive for a huge part of the region it impacts. Not only that, the effects of the crash can be felt on other parts of the globe too.

However, here is some good news, the asteroid 2017 QL33 will simply pass by the planet, without having any impact. According to the information provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), it will come as close as 6136227 kilometres to Earth. The asteroid is also moving at an astonishing speed of 24853 kilometer per hour.

Also, though the asteroid will simply pass by the planet, the only thing that needs to be constantly checked is that the asteroid keeps on travelling in the same trajectory. If it changes direction due to some reason like Earth's gravitational pull, it can pose a threat to the planet.

Wondering how NASA keeps an eye on these asteroids and tracks their movement? It can be known that there are several Earth and Sky-based technologies like telescopes, satellites, and more deployed by NASA in space which helps the research organisation to keep an eye on these near-Earth objects.

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First Published Date: 03 Dec, 10:21 IST