BEWARE! 65-foot asteroid set to get dangerously close to Earth today, warns NASA
When it comes to space, both exploration and protection is equally important for scientists and space agencies. That is why before the Artemis-1 mission, which is aiming to send crewed spacecraft back to the Moon to explore its polar region, NASA took up the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) where a spacecraft was used to change the path of an asteroid. And the reason this test was done was because of many asteroids which threaten the Earth with their potential to destroy cities and even countries. One such asteroid will be paying a visit to the Earth today itself, November 26. Read on to know whether an asteroid strike is possible.
Scary asteroid to come very close to the Earth
The Planetary Defense of NASA is made up of multiple departments, all of which are tasked with monitoring the Near-Earth Objects (NEO). These departments include Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Small-Body database. The cumulative data from these departments has revealed quite a bit about this space rock. The asteroid is named 2022 UD72. It was first discovered recently in October 2022, and hence the four digit number in its name. The 65-foot asteroid will be coming as close as 4 million kilometers to the Earth. While that may seem like a large distance, traveling at a speed of 15,408 kilometers per hour, it can close that gap within days in case there is a last moment deflection.
However, the prediction by NASA at the moment is that there is little chance that 2022 UD72 will strike the Earth. It is expected that the asteroid will make a safe passage. However, various instruments will be monitoring it till it is at a safe distance from us.
NASA's asteroid tracking technology
Ever since NASA understood the risk of the near-Earth objects (NEO), it has dedicated itself to track and monitor as many space rocks in the inner circle of the solar system as possible. Using the prowess of JPL and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope, the US space agency collects data for over 20,000 asteroids.