Aircraft-sized asteroid set to buzz Earth! NASA reveals details

    NASA has revealed that an aircraft-sized asteroid could come extremely close to Earth today. Know about details here.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Dec 12 2022, 06:49 IST
    Top NASA tech that solved Mars myths and mysteries like never before
    1/10 Humans have been studying Mars for hundred of years. In 1609, Galileo was the first person to peer through a telescope and get a more intimate image of what many could only have dreamed of. (Pixabay)
    2/10 An up close and personal view of the red planet emerged as time progressed and so did the capabilities of telescopes. In fact, from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, many astronomers believed that Mars was home to majestic seas and lush areas of vegetation. The Dark markings on Mars surface were once believed to be caused by vegetation growing and dying. (Pixabay)
    image caption
    3/10 Some even believed that intelligent life existed on Mars just because of what they saw through their simple telescopes. But that is exactly was science is about-you make educated guesses based on what you know, then change your ideas based on what you learn. (NASA)
    image caption
    4/10 Now, thanks to new sophisticated equipment and robotic visits to Mars, it turns out they were caused by Martian wind. It was not until the 1960s, when NASA's Mariner missions flew by and snapped pictures of Mars that many of the myths about the red planet were dispelled. (NASA)
    image caption
    5/10 That does not make Mars any less interesting. The possibility that life actually existed once on Mars is still a distinct possibility. Or it may even be existing on Mars today! No, not in the form of little green men, but on a microbial level. (NASA)
    image caption
    6/10 Now, taking pictures is great and all. But nothing is better than getting to know the real thing. So, to get a better feel of Mars, Scientists and engineers built some nifty technologies, from spacecrafts to reach Mars and rovers (vehicles) to actually trundle and explore the planet. (NASA/JPL)
    image caption
    7/10 Among the earliest tech deployed for Mars was Phoenix. It was launched on August 4, 2007 and so began its 9-month long, 681 Million km journey to the legendary red planet. Now, landing on a planet is not as easy as simply dropping a spacecraft onto it. There is actually a lot of steps to the process. (NASA)
    image caption
    8/10 On May 25, 2008, Phoenix entered Mars atmosphere. It used its heat shield to slow down the high speed entry of 5600 meters per second or around 12500 miles per hour. It released a supersonic PARACHUTE, then detached from its parachute and used its rocket engines to land safely on the planet's surface. Phoenix' landing spot was further north and closer to the ice covered poles than any spacecraft has ever been before. (NASA)
    image caption
    9/10 Phoenix had two primary goals: One was to study the history of water in the Martian arctic and the other was to search for evidence of a habitual zone and assess the biological potential of the ice soil boundary. And to do that the spacecraft was packed full of gizmos and gadgets to perform all sets of experiments and tests. One of these gizmos was a robotic arm with a shovel attached. It was used to dig up samples of the martian soil for experiments! (NASA)
    image caption
    10/10 Another top tech on the Mars surface was the Surface Stereo Imager, which is really just a fancy name for the camera. Three surface stereo imagers were Phoenix' eye. Engineers built the device with two optical lenses that would allow for a three dimensional view, just like our eyes. And the SSI sent back some amazing images of the martian landscape. (Source: NASA/Justin Tully) (NASA)
    View all Images
    NASA has revealed that an aircraft-sized asteroid could come extremely close to Earth today. Know its details here. (Pixabay)

    Asteroids can generally be spotted within the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, according to NASA. Interaction with a planet's gravitational field, especially as large as Jupiter, can knock the asteroid off-its orbit and send it hurtling in all directions. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office keeps a check on these Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) for any potential collision with Earth and declares them as Potentially Hazardous Objects if they come within around 8 million kilometers of Earth. Although the planet is safe from any asteroid approaches today, NASA has warned that a huge aircraft-sized asteroid is speeding towards the planet for a close approach, which could happen tomorrow.

    Asteroid 2019 XQ1 key details

    NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2019 XQ1 due to its extremely close approach with the planet. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, December 13, at a distance of 5.5 million kilometers per hour. This 92-foot is already on its way towards the planet travelling at a speed of nearly 35238 kilometers per hour, surpassing the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile!

    According to, the Asteroid 2019 XQ1 belongs to the Aten group of asteroids. It was discovered recently on December 4, 2019. This asteroid takes 364 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 191 million kilometers and nearest distance is 107 million kilometers.

    How NASA uses tech to track asteroids

    NASA keeps a watch on these asteroids by studying data collected by various telescopes and observatories such as the Pan-STARRS, the Catalina Sky Survey and the NEOWISE telescope. NASA also has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to gain even greater in-depth data using a new orbiter.

    NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future.

    Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    First Published Date: 12 Dec, 06:48 IST
    keep up with tech