390-foot Asteroid terror flying towards Earth, NASA says; it will come terrifyingly close

390-foot asteroid is moving close to Earth tomorrow! Should we worry about it crashing? Check what NASA asteroid watch says.

| Updated on: Sep 17 2022, 21:57 IST
In Pics: 390-foot killer asteroid to come terrifyingly close to Earth on Sep 18; will there be a collision?
1/6 In the midst of all small asteroid flybys in the past few months, NASA has now warned that a colossal asteroid is heading straight for Earth. The asteroid possesses the capability of causing total annihilation on Earth and end all life if it impacts the planet. But will there be an asteroid collision with Earth? (Pixabay)
2/6 Although this asteroid was discovered back in 2005, it has still become a cause for concern for scientists due to its sheer size and the speed at which it is rapidly hurtling towards Earth. Most of these space rock have their origin in the asteroid belt. (Pixabay)
3/6 The Asteroid 2005 RX5 is larger than the Statue of Unity, with a width of 390 feet. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth and will make its closest approach to the planet on September 18 at a distance of 4.7 million kilometers. It is hurtling towards Earth at a staggering speed of 62820 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
4/6 Asteroid 2005 RX3 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids located in the asteroid belt near Jupiter. The asteroid takes 690 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. During this orbit, the asteroid’s maximum distance from the Sun is 350 million kilometers while it comes as close as 108 million kilometers at its nearest point. (NASA)
5/6 Most of the asteroids are observed with the help of the NEOWISE Project which repurposed NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. NASA then uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid’s path and its characteristics. (Pixabay)
6/6 NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future. As of now, nearly 28,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered using various survey telescopes which track objects in the sky. (Pixabay)
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NASA has classified this mammoth asteroid as potentially hazardous due to its close approach to the Earth. (Flickr)

While US space agency NASA is getting set to smash its DART mission spacecraft into an asteroid on September 26 to study how it affects the motion of an asteroid in space, a humongous space rock is headed toward Earth. This asteroid will make a terrifyingly close approach to our planet tomorrow. As per NASA Asteroid Watch Dashboard, this asteroid named 2005 RX3 measures 390-foot in size and will pass horrifically close to the Earth. In fact, it will come as close to Earth as 2.95 million miles. Does this asteroid pose a danger to Earth?

NASA keeps an active eye on all the near-Earth objects that will make relatively close approaches to Earth. According to a predetermined criteria, NASA's JPL says that any asteroid that approach within 4.6 million miles to Earth and has a size larger than about 150 meters is termed potentially hazardous objects. Hence, this asteroid also falls under the category of “potentially hazardous objects”.

While this asteroid tomorrow will pass close to Earth, there is always a danger that something may nudge it off course at he last moment that may make it head straight for Earth. However, the chances of that happening are negligible.

Tech behind Asteroid tracking

We do get to her about the warnings issued by NASA in regard to these potentially dangerous asteroids. But how does NASA keep constant track of all the asteroids, comets, and other near-Earth objects? The space agency explains, “NEOs are characterized by using optical and radio telescopes to determine their size, shape, rotation, and physical composition. Some of the most detailed characterization data is obtained for NEOs that approach Earth close enough to be observed with planetary radar, performed by radio telescopes at NASA's Deep Space Network and the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.”

In short, some of the bet technologies have been deployed at huge expense to ensure that a constant watch is kept on as many asteroids as possible.

Did you know?

We are in constant danger of asteroids! NASA says that every day, 80 to 100 tons of material falls upon Earth from space in the form of dust and small meteorites, which are basically the small fragments of asteroids. In the last 20 years, around 600 very small asteroids have been detected, that were a few meters in size and entered Earth's atmosphere and created spectacular fireballs. Impacts of larger objects are expected to be far less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia). However, given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalogue, an unpredicted impact – such as the Chelyabinsk event – could occur at any time.

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First Published Date: 17 Sep, 21:57 IST