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.

| Updated on: Sep 10 2022, 12:43 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 tomorrow, September 11. WISE Telescope shows if asteroid collision with Earth is possible (Pixabay)

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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First Published Date: 10 Sep, 12:43 IST
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