250-foot Asteroid HT4 hurtling towards Earth; Gigantic rock speeding at 32166 kmph | Tech News

250-foot Asteroid HT4 hurtling towards Earth; Gigantic rock speeding at 32166 kmph

A 250-foot asteroid is set to make a close approach to Earth at a speed of 38102 km per hour. Here’s what NASA said.

| Updated on: May 11 2023, 11:34 IST
NASA: DART Mission set to DEFLECT giant asteroid
1/5 Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction. Now, NASA is set to defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids. (Pixabay)
2/5 The DART mission will cost a staggering $240 million. The aim of the mission is to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. While this asteroid in no way threatens Earth, the NASA asteroid mission is to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction. (NASA)
3/5 According to Financial Times, chief scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Andy Cheng, came up with the DART concept along with a senior researcher. Dr. Cheng said, “It feels very exciting — like a dream come true — for something we’ve been thinking about for 20 years to be actually happening." (Pixabay)
4/5 The DART mission has already sent the main spacecraft to space in November, 2021. It includes a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. Another spacecraft is set to launch by 2026, to measure the impact. (NASA)
5/5 NASA said, "DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact." (Pixabay)
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NASA has warned about the giant Asteroid 2023 HT4 that is travelling at a fiery speed towards Earth. (Pixabay)

Asteroids, also known as minor planets, are remnants from the early stages of our solar system's formation approximately 4.6 billion years ago. These rocky and airless objects vary in size, with the largest asteroid being Vesta, measuring about 329 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter. On the other end of the scale, some asteroids are as small as 33 feet (10 meters) across. When considering the collective mass of all asteroids, it is still less than that of Earth's Moon, NASA has revealed.

However, irrelevant of the size, these asteroids can deviate from their orbit and strike planets in the solar system, including Earth. And this can be extremely devastating considering the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago due to an asteroid strike.

Now, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has issued an alert regarding a colossal asteroid on a trajectory toward Earth, expected to come dangerously close. Referred to as 2023 HT4, this asteroid measures 250-foot in size. According to NASA, it will pass in very close proximity to Earth tomorrow, May 12. Whenever a Near-Earth Object (NEO) approaches within 4.6 million miles or 7.5 million kilometers of our planet, NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office promptly releases a warning. The potential threat posed by the 250-foot-wide asteroid 2023 HT4 remains uncertain, pending further evaluation by NASA.

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250-foot wide asteroid danger

According to NASA's asteroid data tracker, Asteroid 2023 HT4 is scheduled to pass by Earth tomorrow, May 12, at a close distance of only 3.77 million miles, travelling at a blazing speed of 32166 kmph.

The asteroid, which belongs to the Apollo group, was only recently discovered on April 9, 2023, and The-Sky.org reports that it completes one orbit around the Sun every 981 days.

Is there a danger from asteroid 2023 HT4? Thankfully, due to its size, NASA and space agencies haven't flagged it as a potentially hazardous asteroid. However, to avoid any mishap, NASA always keeps a keen eye on these upcoming asteroids.

Tech behind asteroid data

NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has the crucial responsibility of monitoring all identified near-Earth objects in order to evaluate the potential risk of their impact. While there are presently no objects posing an immediate threat to our planet, scientists are diligently surveying the celestial expanse for unidentified asteroids. NASA remains actively engaged in researching and devising strategies to avert or mitigate the impact of a potential collision, should one be detected.

To identify potential hazards, NASA has instituted the NEO Observations Program, which is dedicated to the detection, tracking, and characterization of near-Earth objects, particularly those that could jeopardize Earth's safety. Currently, ground-based telescopes and NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft are employed in the ongoing endeavor to locate and study these NEOs.

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First Published Date: 11 May, 11:29 IST