56-foot asteroid hurtling towards Earth TODAY; NASA issues warning

    NASA has issued an alert about a speeding asteroid which is set for a close approach to Earth today. Know its speed, distance and more.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Nov 07 2022, 08:31 IST
    This asteroid is worth $10,000 Quadrillion
    16 Psyche
    1/6 hereas other asteroids are generally made up of ice or rocks, this unique asteroid is made up of nickel, which is one of the building blocks of the solar system. One of the biggest asteroids in our Solar System, the 16 Psyche asteroid is made up of gold, nickel and iron deposits and is supposedly worth more than Earth's economy. The asteroid is worth nearly $10,000 Quadrillion. (NASA)
    Asteroid and Earth
    2/6 The Psyche Mission will also help scientists to study and understand iron cores, a previously unexplored building block of planet formation. The 16 Psyche asteroid mission is a part of NASA's Discovery missions. (Pixabay)
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    3/6 The findings of this mission could enable scientists to develop a way of using asteroids as resources. Asteroids could come in handy when building structures in space, such as bases on other planets or even the Moon. Due to their 85 percent metal structure, they could be an excellent source of minerals. It is even said that the raw materials extracted from asteroids could even exceed the metal reserves present on Earth. (NASA)
    NASA
    4/6 The mission has been in the phase known as assembly, test, and launch operations since March 2021. Since the launch window is limited, scientists and engineers have worked round the clock in order to finish the spacecraft's assembly in time. However, due to unexpected software issues, the mission has now been delayed and pushed to 2023. (NASA)
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    5/6 NASA said, "Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft's flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on October 11. The mission team needs more time to ensure that the software will function properly in flight." (NASA)
    NASA
    6/6 In order to reach the asteroid, the spacecraft will fly by Mars for a gravity assist in May 2023 and, in early 2026, orbit around asteroid Psyche in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. NASA says that the Psyche mission is expected to launch in both 2023 and 2024, but due to the uncertainties, the exact dates of these potential launch periods are yet to be determined. (NASA)
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    Know what NASA says about this dangerous asteroid. (Pixabay)

    Although one or two asteroids usually fly past Earth every day, no less than 4 asteroids made close approaches with Earth yesterday! Another asteroid is on its way towards Earth today and it is a big one. This asteroid has huge destructive potential due to its sheer size and speed and could potentially cause destruction if it deviates slightly from its path. To track such asteroids, NASA uses its repurposed NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. The space agency then uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid's path and its characteristics. 

    Asteroid 2022 UN21 key details 

    NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 UN21. The 56 feet wide asteroid is expected to fly past Earth today, November 7, at a distance of 3 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 41940 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than a missile!

    According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2022 UN21 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. It was discovered just days ago on October 28. This asteroid takes 868 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 400 million kilometers and nearest distance is 133 million kilometers. 

    NASA's programme to observe and categorize 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.

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    First Published Date: 07 Nov, 08:30 IST
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