NASA asteroid watch: This terrifying rock just rocketed past Earth today

NASA has revealed that a dangerous asteroid just flew past Earth today. Did it cause any damage?

| Updated on: Sep 29 2022, 11:54 IST
In Pics: Historic $300 mn NASA DART asteroid collision a success; 1st step to save Earth
Asteroid and Earth
1/5 DART mission is NASA’s $330 million first step to protect the planet against asteroids against potential impact. The aim of the mission was to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. This test will help scientists gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. (AP)
Asteroid and Earth
2/5 After months of anticipation, this test took place during today’s early hours when the DART spacecraft sacrificed itself by colliding with Dimorphos asteroid at 7:14 p.m. EDT. According to NASA, Dimorphos is an asteroid moonlet just 530 feet in width and orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos, nearly 5 times its size. (NASA)
Asteroid and Earth
3/5 NASA DART test was captured by a small companion satellite which followed the DART spacecraft to the target asteroid Dimorphos. The spacecraft’s camera is a cubeSAT called LICIACube (Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging Asteroids). The cubeSAT is made up of two key components, LUKE (LICIACube Unit Key Explorer) and LEIA (LICIACube Explorer Imaging for Asteroid), both of which capture key data from the collision. (Bloomberg)
Asteroid and Earth
4/5 European Space Agency’s Hera spacecraft will fly to the asteroid to survey the aftermath of impact and gather information such as the size of impact crater, the mass of the asteroid and its make-up and internal structure using its CubeSAT satellite to conduct a radar probe of the asteroid after the collision (ESA)
Asteroid and Earth
5/5 Tech behind DART spacecraft - Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) along with Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation (SMART Nav) algorithms aboard the DART spacecraft allowed it to distinguish between the larger Didymos and its target Dimorphos, striking the asteroid with precision accuracy, according to NASA. (NASA )
Asteroid and Earth
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This terrifying asteroid just missed the planet today. (Pixabay)

For those of you who don't know, an asteroid is a terrifying small, rocky object out in space travelling at massive speed and when seen in a telescope, it appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the Asteroid Belt. These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago. Asteroids can sometimes make close approaches with Earth without any danger of impacting the surface. NASA has informed that a similar asteroid just missed the planet today.

Key details about Asteroid 2022 ST7

An asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 ST7, was spotted on its way towards Earth today, September 29.The asteroid was spotted by NASA's Defense Coordination Office, which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). The Planetary Defense Coordination Office classifies NEOs as potentially hazardous if they come within around 7.5 million to 8 million kilometers of Earth.

The Asteroid 2022 ST7 made its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 4.1 million kilometers during today's early hours at a speed of 18000 kilometers per hour. The asteroid belongs to the Apollo group and orbits the Sun, taking around 427 days to complete one trip. During this orbit, its maximum distance from the Sun is 203 million kilometers and minimum distance 129 million kilometers, according to

Has an asteroid ever struck Earth before?

Although asteroids are safely passing near Earth these past few weeks, 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.

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First Published Date: 29 Sep, 11:50 IST
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