Terrifying asteroid racing towards Earth, says NASA

Beware! This terrifying asteroid is hurtling towards Earth today, October 18.

| Updated on: Oct 18 2022, 12:53 IST
Joy! NASA’s asteroid mission achieved mission impossible, created history
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1/6 Nasa’s DART was the first demonstration of the “kinetic impactor” method of asteroid mitigation. This was the first time, when humans altered the path of a celestial body purposefully. (AFP)
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2/6 NASA chief Bill Nelson said, “All of us have a responsibility to protect our home planet. After all, it’s the only one we have. This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us.” He added that the US agency has proven that it can defend the planet. (via REUTERS)
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3/6 Before the crash, asteroid Dimorphous took about 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit the larger asteroid Didymos, whereas, post crash, it took only 11 hours and 23 minutes to orbit the larger asteroid. (via REUTERS)
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4/6 DART impact has shortened the orbit by 32 minutes. None of these space rocks - Dimorphous as well as Didymos pose any threat to our planet, hence it was an ideal target to carry out the DART mission. At the time of collision, the DART spacecraft was traveling at 14000 (22,530-kmph) miles per hour. (via REUTERS)
5/6 The DART team is currently measuring how efficiently the spacecraft transferred its momentum to the asteroid. “DART has given us some fascinating data about both asteroid properties and the effectiveness of a kinetic impactor as a planetary defense technology. The DART team is continuing to work on this rich dataset to fully understand this first planetary defense test of asteroid deflection,” said Nancy Chabot, the DART coordination lead at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in a press statement. (via REUTERS)
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6/6 Didymos, the larger asteroid of the binary pair is about a half mile (780 meters or 2559 feet) in diameter. The moonlet, Dimorphos, is about 525 feet (160 meters) in diameter. (via REUTERS)
Asteroid and Earth
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Know more about this dangerous asteroid hurtling towards Earth. (Pixabay)

Asteroid flybys have been very frequent these past few months with over 35 asteroids passing by in the months of August and September each, and October is likely to surpass this number. 2 asteroids passed by Earth very closely yesterday, missing the planet by just millions of kilometers and astonishingly, 2 more asteroid flybys are expected today.

Key details about Asteroid 2022 UB

A huge asteroid with a width of nearly 58 feet will fly past Earth by a very close margin today, October 18. The asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 UB, will make its closest approach with the planet at a distance of 3.9 million kilometers. The asteroid is travelling towards the planet at a blistering speed of 28152 kilometers per hour! Although Asteroid 2022 UB is not expected to impact the Earth, it was still classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object due to the close proximity by which it passed Earth. A slight deviation in the asteroid's path due to interaction with the planet's gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it hurtling towards the Earth.

According to the-sky.org, Asteroid 2022 UB belongs to the Amor group of asteroids. The asteroid orbits the Sun and takes 715 days to complete one trip. During this orbit, its maximum distance from the Sun is 315 million kilometers and its nearest distance is 153 million kilometers.

Did you know?

Dinosaurs which roamed the Earth millions of years ago were wiped out because of an asteroid. Now, scientists have located the place of impact of the asteroid which caused an extinction-level event. The dinosaur killing asteroid was between 10.6 and 80.9 km in diameter and crashed on Earth near the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico more than 65 million years ago.

This asteroid terraformed the Earth suitable for the emergence of humans. The impact would've caused the formation of huge tidal waves and an impact crater almost 140KM wide. Further, it would've caused the land material to splatter into space, changing the Earth's environment into nuclear winter-like conditions.

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First Published Date: 18 Oct, 12:52 IST