Asteroid today: Massive space rock dashing towards Earth at break-neck speed!

    NASA has issued an asteroid alert! A terrifying space rock is headed for us today. Know its details, as per NASA.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Dec 01 2022, 14:07 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
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    Could this aircraft-sized asteroid impact Earth? (Pixabay)

    Another day, another asteroid is set to pass by Earth extremely closely. After no less than 4 asteroids passed the planet extremely closely yesterday, November 30, space agencies are on alert again as 3 more are expected to make close approaches to Earth today. These asteroids are classified as Potentially Hazardous Objects due to their close proximity to Earth. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for keeping an eye on the sky for rogue asteroids which could potentially threaten Earth. The organisation has now red-flagged this space rock as it heads for close approach with the planet today.

    Key info about Asteroid 2022 WT9

    The alert has been issued against an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 WT9 by NASA. The asteroid has a width of nearly 90 feet, which is as huge as an aircraft! It is expected to fly past Earth closely today, December 1, at a distance of 5.3 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 36479 kilometers per hour.

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

    More details about the asteroid

    According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2022 WT9 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. What's shocking is the asteroid was discovered just days ago, on November 28! This asteroid takes 944 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 416 million kilometers and nearest distance is 148 million kilometers.

    Has an asteroid ever struck Earth before?

    Although asteroids are safely passing near Earth these past few months, it doesn't mean a collision with Earth isn't on the cards. In fact, an asteroid was the reason behind the extinction of one of the largest species on the planet nearly 65 million years ago – dinosaurs.

    According to the Alvarez hypothesis, the extinction was caused by a massive asteroid which crashed on Earth more than 65 million years ago. The asteroid terraformed the planet and is likely the reason that started the extinction of dinosaurs. Scientists have even found the impact crater of the asteroid in Chicxulub, near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

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    First Published Date: 01 Dec, 14:05 IST
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