A massive asteroid rushing towards Earth's orbital path, NASA warns

  • An asteroid, named 1994 WR12, is racing towards Earth's orbit, says NASA. It is much bigger than the Taj Mahal in India.
By HT TECH
| Updated on Nov 29 2021, 09:44 AM IST
While this asteroid may be heading for Earth's orbit, it will still miss the planet, says NASA.
While this asteroid may be heading for Earth's orbit, it will still miss the planet, says NASA. (AFP)

An asteroid is heading for the Earth's orbital path, US space agency NASA has warned in its latest report on these dangerous space objects that it tracks on regular basis. At 430ft, the asteroid is massive and has the potential to initiate cataclysmic damage on whatever it crashes into. To put things in perspective, the size of this asteroid is double the size of the Big Ben clock in London. UK. If you compare with the Taj Mahal in India, then that is 240 feet high.- Clearly, this is a big asteroid and giving it more power is the speed ta which it is travelling.

In terms of damage that it may cause, then it measures up ably against some of the biggest nuclear bombs exploded on Earth. This asteroid has the potential of producing 77 megatons of TNT - if it runs into something. The energy released will be a whopping 1.5 times that of the biggest nuclear weapon ever tested, Tsar Bomba. It was exploded by Russia and the force was measured at 3,333 times that of the atom bomb dropped on Japanese city Hiroshima, during the Second World War.

However, there is no need to worry about all this doom and gloom scenario as it is unlikely to happen with this asteroid named 1994 WR12. The 1994 stands for the year it was discovered by US astronomer Carolyn S. Shoemaker at Palomar Observatory (November 28, 1994). When the asteroid actually shoots by Earth, it will be 3.8 million miles away. It will pass by our planet as early as Monday.

Having said that, it is also clear that, while most asteroids will pass by Earth, there will be some, that will hit it sometime in the future. It is inevitable. Asteroids have hit Earth previously and the same will happen again. The most-known is the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Having said that, humanity is preparing for that eventuality too. First is that NASA is constantly tracking all asteroids that can pose a threat to Earth. And secondly, it has launched an experimental mission that has the task to deflect an asteroid from its course. It will provide much information as to how humanity can deal with an asteroid that is looking like it will crash into Earth.

Named the the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the NASA spacecraft the size of a golf cart lifted off aboard a SpaceX rocket from California on November 23. It will reach the asteroid in September, 2022. The idea is to crash the spacecraft into the asteroid and deflect it from its path.

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First Published Date: 29 Nov, 09:06 AM IST
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