Asteroid danger looms! 170-foot space rock heading for Earth today

    NASA has just spotted this terrifying and huge asteroid heading for Earth! Know about its trajectory, speed and distance.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Dec 05 2022, 10:00 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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid 2022 VP1
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    Know more about this gigantic asteroid heading for Earth. (NASA)

    NASA has revealed that 3 asteroids passed Earth at extremely close distances yesterday. Before knowing the details, you should know that an asteroid is a rocky object in space travelling at massive speed and when seen in a telescope, it appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the Asteroid Belt. These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago.

    Asteroids can sometimes make close approaches with Earth without any danger of impacting the surface. A similar asteroid is on its way towards the planet today, NASA has warned.

    Asteroid 2022 VP1 key details

    An asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 VP1, is on its way towards Earth today, December 5. The asteroid was spotted by NASA's Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). What's shocking is that the asteroid is nearly the size of a commercial aircraft, with a width of nearly 170 feet!

    The Asteroid 2022 VP1 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 6.6 million kilometers today at a speed of 25455 kilometers per hour, as per NASA.

    The PDCO classifies NEOs as potentially hazardous if they come within around 7.5 million to 8 million kilometers of Earth.

    The Asteroid 2022 VP1 belongs to the Apollo group and orbits the Sun, taking around 881 days to complete one trip. During this orbit, its maximum distance from the Sun is 397 million kilometers and minimum distance 141 million kilometers, according to the-sky.org.

    NASA's asteroid tracking NEOWISE telescope

    NASA's space-based telescope called NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others while scanning the skies at near-infrared wavelengths of light from its polar orbit around Earth. But the NEOWISE wasn't always built for this purpose.

    It was a data retrieval project to get back asteroid detections and characteristics from WISE, a NASA observatory launched back in 2009. In 2011, the coolant aboard the spacecraft ran out, which is necessary as the spacecraft used cryogenically cooled detectors that made them sensitive to infrared light. Since the spacecraft's infrared sensors were working efficiently, NASA repurposed it to track various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) such as asteroids, and it was named NEOWISE.

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    First Published Date: 05 Dec, 09:24 IST
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