Alert! 160-foot wide scary asteroid is zooming towards the Earth today; know strike chance?

NASA has spotted an asteroid called 2022 SK which will come dangerously close towards the Earth today, September 24. Know if it can strike our planet.

| Updated on: Sep 24 2022, 11:07 IST
This asteroid is worth $10,000 Quadrillion
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)
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)
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)
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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NASA reports that a massive asteroid will be making its closest approach to the Earth today, September 24. Is a collision possible? (Pixabay)

The Earth has been playing hide-and-seek with asteroids for a while now. But it doesn't always win. In March, an asteroid named 2022 EB5 crashed into the planet north of Iceland in a remote coastal area. The asteroid was just a few feet wide and disintegrated just as it made impact, causing barely any destruction. But today, September 24, the Earth is facing a 160-feet wide asteroid strike threat that can destroy cities if it strikes the planet. Yes, it is that asteroid is big and scary. NASA has revealed that the asteroid will be coming dangerously close to us and it does pose a serious concern. So, will this asteroid strike us or will the Earth win another round of hide and seek? Read on to find out.

The tech marvel that guards the Earth

The reason NASA is able to predict and report on asteroids that are about to approach us not just today but months later is because of a very special telescope known as the NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer). Launched in 2009, this space telescope was reassigned to observe asteroids and other near Earth objects in 2013. The telescope operates on an infrared spectrum allowing it to see objects that even escape the eye. It uses four bands of the spectrum — 3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 micrometers — to observe any space rock moving towards us in the inner circle of the solar system.

Giant asteroid today

According to information from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Small-Body database and Center For Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), departments of NASA who all collate the information from NEOWISE, we know quite a bit about this asteroid. It is named 2022 SK and it was first spotted on September 16 of this year. And that is a shock as it would have left no chance to Earth to try and deflect it ot prepare for disaster on Earth. A close approach of up to 6.9 million kilometers is expected but given that the asteroid is traveling at a mind numbing speed of 59,904 kmph, it can close that distance in hours if not days, if a last moment deviation took place.

Asteroid strike chance?

For now the Earthlings can rest easy knowing that NASA believes the asteroid will make a safe passage and will not strike the planet. But it is constantly monitoring the space rock so nothing unexpected happens while we are not paying attention.

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First Published Date: 24 Sep, 11:07 IST