Alert! Dangerous 60-foot wide asteroid zooming towards Earth today and it will get scarily close

NASA has spotted an asteroid called 2022 SJ28 which will come dangerously close to the Earth today, October 5. Know whether it can strike our planet.

| Updated on: Oct 05 2022, 14:10 IST
NASA DART Mission in pics: Amazing Attack on Asteroid!
1/6 NASA with its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission spacecraft is all set to collide with a non-hazardous asteroid called Dimorphos in order to test planetary defence on Monday, September 26. The learnings from this asteroid attack will be used to protect Earth from asteroids that are heading for a collision with our planet. According to NASA, this will be the world's first mission to deflect an asteroid in space. NASA’s DART, built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, will demonstrate and test asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor. (Bloomberg)
2/6 Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet of Didymos poses no threat to Earth. The DART spacecraft had recently got its first look at Didymos, the double-asteroid system that includes its target, Dimorphos. It is being said that in 2024, the European Space Agency (ESA) will send a space probe to Dimorphos as part of the space mission HERA. The aim of the mission is to visually investigate the aftermath of the DART probe impact. (NASA )
3/6 When to watch: The live broadcast of the event will start on September 26 at 6 p.m., EDT. The spacecraft will impact its target asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT, while at 8:00 p.m. ET, the research organisation will host a post-impact press briefing. (AFP)
4/6 Where to watch: The historic collision can be watched live online as NASA will be broadcasting the same. NASA will broadcast the live coverage of DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos on NASA TV and its several social media handles like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (AFP)
DART spacecraft
5/6 About asteroids: According to NASA, More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. (AP)
6/6 Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (MINT_PRINT)
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NASA reports that a massive asteroid will be making its closest approach to the Earth today, October 5. Is a collision possible? ((Photo: Shutterstock))

Just a week after the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the Earth may just be facing the threat of an asteroid strike! A 60-foot wide asteroid is headed in the direction of our planet and there is a fear that it might hit us today, October 5. NASA has been preparing for Earth-bound asteroids for years and just a week ago it had conducted its first ever test for planetary defense. But will it need to use its tech to protect us today? The asteroid today is not large enough to destroy the Earth, but it is big enough to flatten an entire city if it makes an impact. So, what are the chances of an asteroid strike today? Read on to find out.

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, we have a substantial amount of information about this asteroid. It is named Asteroid 2022 SJ28 and notably, it was first observed on September 24th of this year. That is the scary part as no one knew it was coming. The asteroid is expected to come as close as 5.7 million kilometers to the Earth. Now, while it may seem like a large distance and that we do not need to worry, things are not as simple. The space rock is traveling at the speed of 33,264 kmph. At this mind numbing speed, it can close that distance in hours if not days, if a last moment deviation took place.

Will the asteroid strike us?

While telescopes like NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) have been observing the asteroid, the latest projections reveal that it should make a safe passage across the planet. However, considering instances like deflections due to gravitational fields, it cannot be said for certain that we are safe. However, NASA departments like PDCO (Planetary Defense Coordination Office) are monitoring it for any changes in its path.

Earth's planetary defense system

Now that the DART mission has been successfully concluded, the next few months will be spent by NASA going over the data to understand the result of the impact. During this period, NASA will look at data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, the LILIACube satellite which accompanied the DART impactor as well as information from some ground-based telescopes.

The data will consist of images of the crater left behind by the spacecraft, the change in trajectory of the Dimorphos asteroid, the long-term consequences of the impact as well as any other structural changes in the asteroid. Once the data confirms the success of the mission, NASA will be building a fleet of such spacecraft that can avert a situation where an asteroid threatens to strike the planet.

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First Published Date: 05 Oct, 13:33 IST