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.
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.