Asteroid 2022 CX1 danger looming! Close approach today at 47471 kmph

NASA has alerted us that there is cause for worry as a 43-foot asteroid is heading towards Earth and it could make a close approach as soon as today!

| Updated on: Feb 09 2023, 10:09 IST
Are near-Earth objects DANGEROUS? Know what NASA says about scary comets, asteroids
Asteroid and Earth
1/5 Earth has objects near it, which sometimes get attracted towards the planet because of its gravitational pull. Of course, not every near-Earth object manages to reach the surface of the planet. The object needs to be large enough to survive its fiery journey through the atmosphere of the Earth. (Pixabay)
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2/5 What is a near-Earth object? Asteroids or comets that can pass within 30 million miles or 50 million kilometers of Earth's orbit are known as near-Earth objects or NEO. According to NASA, "A near-Earth object (NEO) is an asteroid or comet whose orbit brings it within a zone approximately 121 million miles (195 million kilometers) from the Sun, meaning that it can pass within about 30 million miles (50 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit." (Pixabay)
3/5 NASA further informed that the vast majority of NEOs that enter Earth’s atmosphere disintegrate before reaching the surface (and more than 100 tons of dust particles disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere daily). Those NEOs that are larger than around 98 to 164 feet (30 to 50 meters) in size could cause widespread damage in and around their impact sites. Apart from NEOs, there is another category that NASA uses. These are the potentially hazardous objects (PHO). These are near-Earth objects whose orbit brings them within 4.7 million miles (7.5 million km) of Earth’s orbit, or is greater than 500 feet (140 meters) in size. (Pixabay)
4/5 The highest risk of impact for a known asteroid is a 1 in 714 chance of impact by an asteroid designated 2009 FD in 2185. This means that the possibility that it could impact then is less than 0.2 percent. NASA said, "One asteroid that NASA is studying up close, called Bennu, has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a 2-year investigation of Bennu before plucking a sample of asteroid material off its surface and delivering it back to Earth." (Pixabay)
5/5 How can we prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth? Currently, an asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that NASA might be able to prevent. There are a few methods that NASA is studying to deflect an asteroid on a course to impact Earth. One of these techniques is called a gravity tractor—it involves a spacecraft that would rendezvous with an asteroid (but not land on its surface) and maintain its relative, optimal position to use the mutual gravity attraction between the satellite and the asteroid to slowly alter the course of the asteroid. (Pixabay)
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This house-sized asteroid is rushing towards Earth. (Wikimedia Commons)

Just like Earth, NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) completes its trip around the Sun every 12 months. Images are captured by the survey telescope throughout its journey, which are then stitched together to form a sky-map, according to NASA. This sky-map shows the positions and the brightness of millions of celestial objects in space. With the help of this sky-map and other ground and space-based telescopes, NEOWISE also helps scientists keep an eye on asteroids which may potentially threaten to impact the Earth.

NASA has now issued an asteroid warning for a similar asteroid which is heading for Earth and could make its closest approach as soon as today.

Asteroid 2022 CX1 details

NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 CX1. It is expected to fly past Earth closely today, February 9, at a distance of 6.6 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 47471 kilometers per hour.

Compared to other asteroids that often make close approaches with Earth, Asteroid 2022 CX1 is relatively small with a width of 43 feet, making it as big as a house.

Although this asteroid is not expected to impact Earth any time soon, A slight deviation in the asteroid's path due to interaction with the planet's gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it tumbling towards Earth's surface with catastrophic consequences.

Mapping the sky

As of now, NASA has stitched 18 sky maps together using the images captured by the NEOWISE, with 19th and 20th maps to be released around March 2023. With the help of these maps, NASA scientists have created a time-lapse of the sky, showing the changes in position of numerous celestial objects, spanning across the last decade.

This move will help in better understanding of our Universe and enable scientists to study the changes in positions and brightness of space objects in the last decade. This is called Time-Domain Astronomy.

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First Published Date: 09 Feb, 10:09 IST