Asteroid danger! NASA reveals speed, distance of 67-foot space rock zooming towards Earth

A 67 feet wide asteroid could make its journey towards Earth very soon! NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) has issued a warning.

| Updated on: Dec 02 2022, 10:08 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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Know more about this asteroid zooming towards Earth. (NASA )

Numerous asteroids keep zooming past the Earth at blistering speeds and close distances, posing a potential risk to the planet. Nearly 10 asteroids have made close approaches to the planet in the past 2 days. Though none of these asteroids actually hit Earth, they are still classified as Potentially Hazardous Objects due to the close proximity by which they pass the planet. Now, NASA has warned that another asteroid is approaching the Earth today, December 2. It is heading for Earth at break-neck speed!

Although at the moment scientists believe that the asteroid will make a safe passage across our planet, things can change due to a slight deflection in the asteroid's trajectory as a result of interaction with Earth's gravitational field.

Asteroid 2022 WT6 key details

NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has warned that the asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 WT6, will make its closest approach to Earth today, December 2, at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers. Now, although the distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances. In fact, the asteroid is already travelling towards Earth, at a blistering speed of 72602 kilometers per hour!

According to, the Asteroid 2022 WT6 was discovered recently on November 25. It belongs to the main Apollo group of asteroids. The Asteroid 2022 WT6 takes just 1126 days to orbit the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 542 million kilometers and minimum distance is 92 million kilometers.

NASA mission to study trojan asteroids

To study asteroids that are not in the asteroid belt, NASA has the Lucy Space Mission. NASA launched its Lucy spacecraft on Oct. 16, 2021 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This is NASA's first space mission to study the Trojans, a group of asteroids which orbit the Sun in two groups, according to NASA. It is built to seek out trojan asteroids millions of miles from Earth.

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First Published Date: 02 Dec, 10:03 IST
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