A giant asteroid twice the size of Statue of Liberty can fly past earth today

A Large asteroid is heading towards Earth and will shoot past at 9,500 miles per hour today.

| Updated on: Jan 24 2022, 09:26 IST
NASA is keeping an eye on Asteroid 2017 XC62.
NASA is keeping an eye on Asteroid 2017 XC62. (AFP)
NASA is keeping an eye on Asteroid 2017 XC62.
NASA is keeping an eye on Asteroid 2017 XC62. (AFP)

A giant asteroid is making its way towards Earth and will likely fly past today. Named “Asteroid 2017 XC62″, the near-earth asteroid could be about 623 feet wide, which is over twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. According to NASA's estimate, the large space rock considered a 'near Earth object' could shoot past us at 9,500 miles per hour on Monday, January 24. However, it's expected to stay a distance of 4.4 million miles away from our planet.

Though the asteroid seems pretty far away from earth, it's actually quite close in space terms. For comparison purposes, know that our Moon is only about 238,900 miles from us.

NASA has been keeping an eye on the giant asteroid. Anything passing near Earth's orbit is classified as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and NASA has been tracking thousands of NEOs to monitor whether they can collide with our planet.

According to the space organizations, any fast-moving space object that comes within 4.65 million miles from earth could be "potentially hazardous" as one small change to their trajectories could lead to disaster for Earth.

Though Asteroid 2017 XC62 isn't expected to veer off course, some experts are looking into some defense methods. They are worried that Earth isn't yet ready to defend itself from potentially deadly asteroids.

NASA has recently launched its first-ever Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission to investigate and demonstrate one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid's motion in space through kinetic impact. NASA wrote, “The DART craft should slam into a small asteroid called Dimorphos in September with the aim of moving it off course.”

Meanwhile, Nasa has recently revealed stunning footage of a solar flare in action. The space organization took to its official Instagram handle to share the breathtaking picture of solar flare. They wrote, “Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy. They usually take place in active regions, which are areas on the Sun marked by the strong presence of magnetic fields. As these magnetic fields evolve, they can reach a point of instability and release energy in many forms, including electromagnetic radiation, which is what is observed as solar flares.” Flares and solar eruptions affect radio communications, electric power grids, navigation signals, and even pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts.

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First Published Date: 24 Jan, 09:24 IST