NASA: Giant asteroid to pay Earth a visit today; it will come horrifically close to our planet
NASA: After a number of asteroids passed very near Earth earlier this week, a new asteroid has appeared on the horizon. This asteroid, which is as big as a house, will be approaching Earth today. The asteroid, named 2022 FH, is particularly concerning because compared to all the other asteroids we have seen this week, it will be coming closest to the Earth. As such, there is always a risk that even the slightest deviation from its path will result in the asteroid being trapped by Earth's gravitational pull, causing it to strike our planet. NASA is monitoring the movements of the asteroid and at the moment it looks that 2022 FH will make a safe passage. But things can change, as they did when a very small asteroid, that was earlier set to pass close to Earth actually ended up crashing on Earth - read story here.
According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, asteroid 2022 FH is an 18 meters wide asteroid, which is as large as a multi-floored house. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 1,580,000 kilometers. For reference, this is less than one-thirds of the distance of the other two asteroids that passed Earth and caused quite a concern as ‘potentially hazardous'. Despite its smaller size, the near Earth object (NEO) can cause quite a disaster if it ends up hitting the Earth.
Asteroid 2022 FH headed towards Earth
The 2022 FH has a smaller orbit compared to the other two asteroids we saw recently. At its perihelion (the point in its orbit where it is closest to the Sun), it goes as close as the orbit of Mercury. At its aphelion (the point in orbit where it is furthest away from the Sun), it almost traces up to Mars' orbit. This asteroid made its last close approach to Earth in October 2019. However this is the closest the asteroid has ever come to our planet. Further, according to NASA's calculations, it will not come this close till September 2052! If you want to know more about this asteroid, you can go to NASA's Small Body Database by clicking this link.
An interesting fact about 2022 FH is that it has a large deposit of silica, which is used in making silicon chips. With a global shortage of silicon chips, asteroids like these can be extremely crucial to mankind to conduct an extraterrestrial mining mission.