Giant 160-foot asteroid hurtling towards Earth TODAY, NASA warns

NASA has again warned about two potentially hazardous asteroids that are hurtling towards the Earth today. One of these asteroids measures 160-foot.

| Updated on: Sep 24 2022, 20:47 IST
NASA DART Mission in pics: Amazing Attack on Asteroid!
1/6 NASA with its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission spacecraft is all set to collide with a non-hazardous asteroid called Dimorphos in order to test planetary defence on Monday, September 26. The learnings from this asteroid attack will be used to protect Earth from asteroids that are heading for a collision with our planet. According to NASA, this will be the world's first mission to deflect an asteroid in space. NASA’s DART, built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, will demonstrate and test asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor. (Bloomberg)
2/6 Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet of Didymos poses no threat to Earth. The DART spacecraft had recently got its first look at Didymos, the double-asteroid system that includes its target, Dimorphos. It is being said that in 2024, the European Space Agency (ESA) will send a space probe to Dimorphos as part of the space mission HERA. The aim of the mission is to visually investigate the aftermath of the DART probe impact. (NASA )
3/6 When to watch: The live broadcast of the event will start on September 26 at 6 p.m., EDT. The spacecraft will impact its target asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT, while at 8:00 p.m. ET, the research organisation will host a post-impact press briefing. (AFP)
4/6 Where to watch: The historic collision can be watched live online as NASA will be broadcasting the same. NASA will broadcast the live coverage of DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos on NASA TV and its several social media handles like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. (AFP)
5/6 About asteroids: According to NASA, More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. (AP)
6/6 Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (MINT_PRINT)
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NASA has classified this humongous asteroid as potentially hazardous due to its close approach to the Earth. (Pixabay)

Asteroids pose a huge hazard to Earth. They seem to come out of nowhere and often it is very difficult to locate them till they are almost upon us, especially if they are coming from the direction of the Sun. To prevent any catastrophe, NASA is carrying out a test. It is preparing to crash a spacecraft on Dimorphos asteroid to test the technology as a means of deflecting asteroids that could be headed towards Earth. That such tests are important is proved by the fact that almost daily, there are various asteroid buzzing by Earth, missing it sometimes by just a few hundred thousand kilometres. In fact, two giant space rocks are already speeding toward Earth and are in quite close proximity. One of these asteroids named 2022 SK is as big as a plane, around 160-foot. The space monster is speeding at a massive speed of 16.64 kilometres per second and it will make its closest approach to Earth of just 4.31 million miles today.

NASA says that asteroids generally travel around the Sun, but can change their orbit paths due to the gravitational force of planets, which can sometimes force them to collide with them. So far, the only ones that have collided in recent years have been small ones, which caused little or localised damage. However, the danger from these near-Earth objects always remains active.

That's why even a small 41-foot wide asteroid dubbed 2022 SP, which will also come too close for comfort to Earth today, has also been flagged as a "potentially dangerous object." The danger from this small asteroid is the distance that it will come uncomfortably near to the Earth. According to NASA's JPL, the asteroid will pass near the Earth at a distance of 2.2 million miles. NASA's JPL says that any asteroid that approaches within 4.6 million miles of Earth or has a size larger than about 150 meters is flagged as a potentially hazardous object.

Did you know?

Some of the best technologies of NASA have been deployed to ensure a constant watch on these dangerous asteroids near the Earth. While using optical and radio telescopes, NASA determines the size, shape, rotation, and physical composition of these asteroids.

“Some of the most detailed characterization data is obtained for NEOs that approach Earth close enough to be observed with planetary radar, performed by radio telescopes at NASA's Deep Space Network and the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico,” NASA said.

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First Published Date: 24 Sep, 20:47 IST
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