Science

Asteroid alert! 130-foot asteroid hurtling toward Earth at warp speed

NASA has revealed an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 YS5 is hurtling towards Earth at ferocious speed. Know its details here.

Asteroids have several shapes, they may be spherical, elongated, or oddly shaped. Some asteroids even have their own satellites! Asteroids also vary in size. From Ceres, the largest asteroid known to man which is nearly the size of the Moon to asteroids that are less than 10 meters in diameter, they can be found in all shapes and sizes. Unlike bigger asteroids which rarely stray towards Earth, smaller space rocks frequently fly past the planet at close distances.


NASA has now revealed that another asteroid is on its way and it is huge!


Asteroid 2022 YS5 details

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 YS5 due to its extremely close approach with the planet. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth today, January 13, at a distance of 5.9 million kilometers per hour. It is already on its way towards the planet traveling at a speed of nearly 21506 kilometers per hour!


Asteroid 2022 YS5 is particularly concerning due to its huge size. With a width of 130 feet, this asteroid is nearly the size of an aircraft, says NASA. It could cause damage to it life and property if it crashes, especially in a densely populated area.


Although this asteroid is not expected to collide with Earth, a slight deviation in its trajectory due to the Earth’s gravitational pull can send the asteroid hurtling towards Earth for an impact. Though you should not be worried as NASA has already tested the plan to engage in planetary defense to protect the planet against rogue asteroids through its DART Mission.


How NASA studies and tracks asteroids: Tech explained

Surveys done by NASA-supported ground-based telescopes – including Pans-STARRS1 in Maui, Hawaii, as well as the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona – have identified thousands of near-Earth objects. And a 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. NASA uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid’s path and its characteristics.


NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. The space agency has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to gain even greater in-depth data using a new orbiter.


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