500-foot MAMMOTH asteroid heading for Earth today, says NASA; Scary rock flying at 36969 kmph

NASA has warned that a colossal 500-foot asteroid is expected to get fearfully close to Earth today.

| Updated on: Dec 22 2022, 10:26 IST
680-foot stadium sized asteroid, 4 others to make close approach to Earth soon!
1/5 Asteroid 2022 YQ – NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has alerted that a 26 feet asteroid is on its way towards Earth, rushing at a mind-numbing speed of 53063 kilometers per hour! It will make its closest approach today, December 19, at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers.  (ESA)
2/5 Asteroid 2014 HK129 - This 680-foot asteroid is nearly the size of a stadium! NASA has warned that the asteroid, named Asteroid 2014 HK129, will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, December 20, at a distance of just 2.5 million kilometers. It is already on its way, travelling at a staggering speed of 41680 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroid 2017 XQ60 - A huge asteroid with a size ranging between 111 feet and 246 feet will fly past Earth by a very close margin on December 21. The asteroid, named Asteroid 2017 XQ60, will make its closest approach with the planet at a distance of 7.2 million kilometers. The asteroid is travelling towards the planet at a blistering speed of 57463 kilometers per hour!  (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2022 YK – Another asteroid named 2022 YK will make its closest approach to Earth on December 22 at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers. The asteroid, with a width between 16 feet and 36 feet, is travelling at a speed of 10127 kilometers per hour towards the planet!  (Pixabay)
5/5 Asteroid 2022 UD9 - NASA has issued an alert against another asteroid named Asteroid 2022 UD9. This asteroid has a humongous size, ranging between 393 feet and 885 feet, and is expected to fly past Earth closely on December 22, at a distance of 1.7 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 36969 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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Know more about this 500-foot asteroid which is set to come scarily close to Earth. (Pixabay)

Did you know that asteroids have been responsible for some of the biggest events in history? From the Chelyabinsk disaster that injured at least a thousand people to the one that caused the extinction of dinosaurs millions of years ago in Mexico, whenever these space rocks have crashed on Earth, they have changed the course of history. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If any NEO comes within 8 million kilometers of Earth, the organization red flags the NEO and issues an alert.

Asteroid 2022 UD9 details

NASA has warned that Asteroid 2022 UD9 is on its way towards Earth travelling at a staggering speed of 36969 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the planet today, December 22, at a distance of 1.7 million kilometers. According to NASA, Asteroid 2022 UD9 is almost the size of a building with a width of nearly 500 feet!

According to the-sky.org, Asteroid 2022 UD9 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which are a group of near-Earth asteroids named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s. The gigantic space rock orbits the Sun in around 644 days. During this trip, its farthest point from the Sun is at 306 million kilometers and its nearest point is 130 million kilometers.

This asteroid had huge destructive potential due to its sheer size and speed and could have potentially caused mass destruction if it deviated slightly from its path.

After today's flyby, Asteroid 2022 UD9's next close approach with Earth will take place on December 7, 2089, at a distance of around 5.4 million kilometers.

What is NASA doing to find potentially hazardous asteroids?

NASA has established a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The PDCO ensures the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) - asteroids and comets whose orbits are predicted to bring them within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) and of a size large enough to reach Earth's surface - that is, greater than approximately 30 to 50 meters.

NASA tracks and characterizes these objects and issues warnings about potential impacts, providing timely and accurate information. NASA also leads the coordination of U.S. Government planning for response to an actual impact threat.

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First Published Date: 22 Dec, 10:23 IST
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