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?
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 the-sky.org.
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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