Danger! Humongous asteroid coming dangerously close to Earth today

A massive asteroid is speeding towards the Earth today. Will the asteroid hit or miss the planet? Here’s what NASA has to say.

| Updated on: Sep 15 2022, 10:00 IST
This asteroid is worth $10,000 Quadrillion
1/6 hereas other asteroids are generally made up of ice or rocks, this unique asteroid is made up of nickel, which is one of the building blocks of the solar system. One of the biggest asteroids in our Solar System, the 16 Psyche asteroid is made up of gold, nickel and iron deposits and is supposedly worth more than Earth's economy. The asteroid is worth nearly $10,000 Quadrillion. (NASA)
2/6 The Psyche Mission will also help scientists to study and understand iron cores, a previously unexplored building block of planet formation. The 16 Psyche asteroid mission is a part of NASA's Discovery missions. (Pixabay)
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3/6 The findings of this mission could enable scientists to develop a way of using asteroids as resources. Asteroids could come in handy when building structures in space, such as bases on other planets or even the Moon. Due to their 85 percent metal structure, they could be an excellent source of minerals. It is even said that the raw materials extracted from asteroids could even exceed the metal reserves present on Earth. (NASA)
4/6 The mission has been in the phase known as assembly, test, and launch operations since March 2021. Since the launch window is limited, scientists and engineers have worked round the clock in order to finish the spacecraft's assembly in time. However, due to unexpected software issues, the mission has now been delayed and pushed to 2023. (NASA)
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5/6 NASA said, "Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft's flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on October 11. The mission team needs more time to ensure that the software will function properly in flight." (NASA)
6/6 In order to reach the asteroid, the spacecraft will fly by Mars for a gravity assist in May 2023 and, in early 2026, orbit around asteroid Psyche in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. NASA says that the Psyche mission is expected to launch in both 2023 and 2024, but due to the uncertainties, the exact dates of these potential launch periods are yet to be determined. (NASA)
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Check out what NASA says about the scary Asteroid 2020 PT4 which is set to pass very close to Earth today, September 15. (Pixabay)

Last 2 days have broken the pattern of asteroid flybies that were happening every day. There was no asteroid posing a threat to Earth yesterday, but one is coming today, and it is huge. NASA has warned that a humongous asteroid, named Asteroid 2020 PT4 is heading dangerously towards Earth. NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If any celestial object is at risk of Earth impact, it red flags and issues the alert.

The Asteroid 202 PT4 has also been red flagged by NASA. Although the asteroid is not heading for impact with Earth, it was still classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object due to the close proximity with which it will pass by Earth. Asteroids which come closer than 8 million kilometers to Earth's orbit are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids, according to NASA.

Asteroid 2020 PT4 heading for Earth today, September 15

The Asteroid 2020 PT4 will just miss Earth on September 15, which is today at a distance of 7.1 million kilometers at a staggering speed of 39,024 kilometers per hour. The asteroid is nearly the size of a commercial aircraft with a width of nearly 120 feet. This asteroid does not pose any threat to Earth and will pass the planet safely though. However, it was still classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to the close proximity of its encounter with Earth and on the off-chance it may deviate from its path for any reason.

Asteroid 2020 PT4 is part of the Apollo group of asteroids. According to the-sky.org, this asteroid takes almost 734 days to complete one orbit of the Sun, during which its farthest distance from the Sun is 355 million kilometers and nearest distance is 122 million kilometers.

Did you know?

NASA's Juno probe is all set to conduct a close flyby of one of Jupiter's moons which has more water than Earth. The Juno Probe will make a very close approach with Europa, which is one of Jupiter's moons on September 29. The Juno probe will send data and images back to Earth following its close encounter with the help of its JunoCam instrument.

NASA's Juno Mission is a long-term mission to understand the weather and the dynamics of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, which will allow further understanding of the behaviour of different exoplanets in different solar systems.


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First Published Date: 15 Sep, 10:00 IST