Alert! Killer asteroid is zooming towards the Earth, shows NASA's WISE Telescope
The NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope has spotted an asteroid called 2022 QF2 which will come dangerously close towards the Earth tomorrow, September 11. Know how it was discovered and whether an asteroid collision with Earth is possible.
The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) is a tech marvel run by NASA. It is an infrared astronomy space telescope which has been tasked with finding as many asteroids in the solar system as possible. Recently it has spotted a dangerous asteroid which is set to make its closest approach to the Earth tomorrow, September 11. The asteroid is 140-foot wide and if it happened to strike our planet, it can easily destroy an entire city with the impact damage. Further, the shockwaves and seismic activities caused by it will generate a plethora of problems for nearby regions as well. So, is there a chance that there might be an asteroid collision with Earth? Read on to find out.
140-foot wide asteroid is set to come close to the Earth tomorrow
According to information from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Small-Body database and Center For Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), departments of NASA, we know quite a bit about this space rock. It has been named 2022 QF2. It wasn't spotted till August 19, 2022, and that is what the first four digits in its name indicate. A close approach of up to 7.3 million kilometers is expected but given that the asteroid is traveling at the speed of 30,384 kmph, that is not much respite. If a last minute deviation occurred, it can reach the Earth in just two days.
At the moment, the prediction is that the asteroid will make a safe passage across the Earth and will not strike us. However, the NEOWISE telescope is keeping a vigilant eye on the space rock, so if something goes wrong, we will know at the earliest.
The interesting journey of the NEOWISE project
Earlier known as WISE, the space telescope was launched in December 2009. In 2011, it was put in hibernation mode as its mission could not be finalized. But in 2013, it was renamed NEOWISE and was tasked to scan through space to find near Earth asteroids. But it hasn't just stopped there. It discovered thousands of minor planets and many star clusters. It was also credited with the discovery of the first Y-type brown dwarf and Earth trojan asteroid. In July 2021, NASA extended the NEOWISE mission until June 2023, at least.
The telescope has four bands — 3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 micrometers — in the infrared spectrum and they can observe space even when there is no visible light. This process involves using thermal detection from the internal heat sources of celestial bodies.
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