Scary asteroid shoots past Earth, surprises NASA

    • Humanity's worst fears almost came to pass today as an asteroid evaded detection and shot past Earth.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 21:32 IST
    Asteroid
    It has been revealed that the asteroid, called Asteroid 2021 UA1, came towards Earth from the side of the Sun and that is why it managed to evade all the asteroid tracking instruments, including those of NASA.  (AP)
    Asteroid
    It has been revealed that the asteroid, called Asteroid 2021 UA1, came towards Earth from the side of the Sun and that is why it managed to evade all the asteroid tracking instruments, including those of NASA.  (AP)

    Humanity's worst fears almost came to pass today as an asteroid evaded detection and shot past Earth. The scary part was not that it would crash into the Earth, it was that the asteroid was not detected by NASA, whose job it is to track such errant missiles in space. It was just 2000 miles (around 3000 km) from Earth at its closest point and would qualify as a near-miss. Any closer and it would have crashed into Earth. The asteroid crept up undetected and surprised even NASA which had no inkling it was coming. Notably, asteroids carry immense destructive power. They are credited with the mass extinction of dinosaurs on Earth. To put things in perspective, it passed by Earth at an altitude lower than some of the satellites humans have parked up there in space.

    It is back to the drawing board for NASA, which tracks all asteroids that are heading towards Earth, but this one managed to evade all its instruments. At 2 metres, the asteroid was small - about the size of a refrigerator. NASA does say that most of these asteroids are too small to cause any destruction on Earth. NASA has also admitted its inability to track all the asteroids and comets out there in space that are heading in the general direction of Earth - there are just too many of them, space is too big and the distances involved that  these rocks travel, are immense.

    It has been revealed that the asteroid, called Asteroid 2021 UA1, came towards Earth from the side of the Sun and that is a blind side for astronomers simply because the Sun is so bright and therefore finding the object was nearly impossible. 

    “Newly-discovered #asteroid 2021 UA1 missed Antarctica by only 3000 km Sunday evening. It came from the daytime sky, so it was undiscoverable prior to closest approach," said astronomer Tony Dunn.

    You can watch the trajectory of the asteroid plotted in the tweet video below as it passed by Earth.

    The asteroid was detected after it had passed by Earth. The good part about this scary episode is that it adds to the information available to astronomers to better their asteroid tracking instruments that may produce better results in the future. 

    Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    First Published Date: 31 Oct, 08:34 IST
    NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS
    keep up with tech