Beware! Scary 60-foot wide asteroid is headed towards the Earth today, says NASA | Tech News

Beware! Scary 60-foot wide asteroid is headed towards the Earth today, says NASA

According to NASA, a 60-foot wide asteroid is headed towards the Earth today, August 16. Does it pose a threat to our planet and should we be concerned? Find out.

| Updated on: Aug 16 2022, 11:45 IST
How well do you know Earth's Moon? How did it form, rotation, its orbit? Get up close and familiar- 5 points
1/5 How did the Moon form? According to the information provided by NASA, the leading theory behind the formation of the Moon is that a Mars-sized object collided with Earth billions of years ago, and debris from this collision eventually formed the Moon. (NASA)
2/5 Moon's rotation: The time it takes for the Moon to rotate once on its axis is equal to the time it takes for the Moon to orbit once around Earth. This keeps the same side of the Moon facing towards Earth throughout the month. (NASA)
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3/5 Moon orbit Earth: According to NASA, the Moon takes about one month to orbit Earth (27.3 days to complete a revolution, but 29.5 days to change from New Moon to New Moon). As the Moon completes each 27.3-day orbit around Earth, both Earth and the Moon are moving around the Sun. Because of this change in position, sunlight appears to hit the Moon at a slightly different angle on day 27 than it does on day zero ― even though the Moon itself has already traveled all the way around Earth. It takes a little more than two additional days for sunlight to hit the Moon in the same way it did on day zero. This is why it takes 29.5 days to get from new moon to new moon, even though it doesn’t take quite that long for the Moon itself to travel once around Earth. (NASA)
4/5 Does the Moon have gravity? What would happen if there was no Moon? The Moon does have gravity. Because the Moon has less mass than Earth, its gravitational pull is weaker (about one-sixth of Earth’s). On the Moon, you will be able to jump about six times as high as you can on Earth ― but you would still come back down, informs NASA. Also, If there would be no Moon, Earth would be a very different world. The Moon’s gravity keeps our planet from wobbling on its axis too much, which helps to stabilize our climate. The Moon also plays an important role in creating tides in Earth’s oceans. (NASA)
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5/5 Who Has Walked on the Moon? Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin were the first of 12 human beings to walk on the Moon. Four of America's moonwalkers are still alive: Aldrin (Apollo 11), David Scott (Apollo 15), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17). In all, 24 American astronauts made the trip from Earth to the Moon between 1968 and 1972. Three astronauts made the journey from Earth to the Moon twice: James Lovell (Apollo 8 and Apollo 13), John Young (Apollo 10 and Apollo 16), and Gene Cernan (Apollo 10 and Apollo 17). (NASA)
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This massive asteroid has been spotted by NASA and it is speeding towards the Earth. Is an asteroid strike possible? Know here. (Pixabay)

Continuing its dangerous tryst with asteroids, the Earth is going to witness two dangerous space rocks which are going to make their closest approach today, August 16. Among them, a 60-feet wide asteroid is going to be the first to pay us a visit. This asteroid, which is larger than an adult African Elephant, can pose a serious threat to the planet if it veers close to the Earth for some reason. An asteroid this size is capable of causing complete destruction of the area of the impact as well as send shockwaves tens of kilometers away, causing more destruction in nearby areas. So, will this asteroid be slamming into the Earth? Read on to find out.

According to Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a department of NASA, the name of this space rock is 2022 PJ1. The year in the name suggests that it was first observed this year itself. NASA's Small-Body database reveals that the first observation took place on August 7, which means not a lot of data is available on the asteroid. However, prediction models reveal that it will come as close as 4.2 million kilometers to the Earth. If you feel this distance is too large to worry about, then just know that considering its speed of 21,312 kilometers per hour, this distance can be covered in a short amount of time, if a deviation to the asteroid took place for some reason.

Scary asteroid is zooming towards the Earth

The asteroid 2022 PJ1 has been classified as a near-Earth object by NASA. This classification is given to those asteroids which are close enough to pose a threat for our planet. At its size, this asteroid can do some serious damage to our planet, if it ends up making an impact. This is the first time this asteroid has been spotted and that's why not much is known about it. We do know that it has an highly elliptical orbit where its perihelion is between Venus and Earth and its aphelion is between Mars and Jupiter. Despite the low data, latest prediction models suggest that the asteroid is expected to make a safe passage across the Earth.

To protect the Earth from any such future threats, NASA is conducting a DART mission, which will give it the capabilities of sending rockets to push an incoming asteroid slightly and change its trajectory to protect the planet.

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First Published Date: 16 Aug, 11:45 IST