NASA says a 150-foot asteroid is on its way towards Earth tomorrow. The asteroid is enormous and is speeding at a fiery rate.
Another asteroid is on its way towards Earth tomorrow and it is a big one. In fact, no less than 3 asteroids are set to pass Earth tomorrow. This asteroid has huge potential due to its sheer size and speed and could potentially cause localized destruction if it deviates slightly from its path. To track such asteroids, NASA uses its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. The space agency then uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid’s path and its characteristics.
Asteroid 2022 XN key details
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 XN. The 150 feet wide asteroid is nearly the size of a commercial aircraft, and is expected to fly past Earth tomorrow, December 24 at a distance of 3.2 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 39544 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than a missile!
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2022 XN belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. It was discovered just this month on December 1. This asteroid takes 695 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 336 million kilometers and nearest distance is 123 million kilometers.
NASA’s space-based telescope called NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others while scanning the skies at near-infrared wavelengths of light from its polar orbit around Earth. But the NEOWISE wasn’t always built for this purpose.
It was a data retrieval project to get back asteroid detections and characteristics from WISE, a NASA observatory launched back in 2009. In 2011, the coolant aboard the spacecraft ran out, which is necessary as the spacecraft used cryogenically cooled detectors that made them sensitive to infrared light. Since the spacecraft’s infrared sensors were working efficiently, NASA repurposed it to track various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) such as asteroids, and it was named NEOWISE.