NASA is on alert as it expects a huge asteroid to make a close approach with Earth today, December 23. Here’s what the space agency said.
Tens of millions of years ago, a single asteroid collided with the planet, which is said to be the reason behind the extinction of dinosaurs. Though the collision was destructive, our planet survived! Does this mean that Earth cannot be destroyed by an asteroid even though living things on it may go extinct? Absolutely not! Due to the Earth’s gravitational pull, the planet tends to attract celestial objects like asteroids and meteors towards it leading to surface impacts. The responsibility of keeping a watch on these Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) falls to NASA and other space agencies who uses its various ground and space-based telescopes to monitor and flag these objects.
Now, NASA has revealed that another asteroid is on its way hurtling towards Earth today.
Asteroid 2022 YB key details
NASA has warned that Asteroid 2022 YB is on its way towards Earth today, December 23, travelling at a staggering speed of 20759 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 3.9 million kilometers. According to NASA, Asteroid 2022 YB is almost the size of a commercial aircraft with a width of nearly 140 feet!
According to the-sky.org, Asteroid 2022 YB belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which are a group of near-Earth asteroids named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.The asteroid orbits the Sun in around 508 days. During this trip, its farthest point from the Sun is at 225 million kilometers and its nearest point is 148 million kilometers.
Did you know?
One asteroid that NASA is studying up close, called Bennu, has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a 2-year investigation of Bennu before plucking a sample of asteroid material off its surface and delivering it back to Earth. Along with collecting a sample, OSIRIS-REx will also be studying how light absorbed from the Sun and re-radiated by Bennu affects its orbit—and consequently, how that orbit could become more dangerous for Earth.