NASA has raised an alert about a 230-foot wide asteroid that could make a close approach towards the planet as soon as today.
Our entire solar system is filled with asteroids ranging in size from a few millimeters to hundreds of kilometers. Asteroids, along with a handful of other celestial objects are the biggest threat to humanity in the Universe. To extinguish life on Earth, an asteroid would have to be approximately 96 km wide, although smaller asteroids also have the potential to cause damage up to some extent. Unlike bigger asteroids which rarely stray towards Earth, smaller asteroids frequently fly past Earth at relatively close distances. Now, another one of these smaller space rocks is expected to make a close approach to the planet as soon as today.
Key information about Asteroids 2021 TL
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is the watchdog which keeps an eye on celestial objects like asteroids for potential impact with the planet. These objects are termed as Potentially Hazardous Objects if they are projected to fly past Earth at a distance closer than 8 million kilometers. NASA has issued a similar warning about an asteroid named Asteroid 2021 TL which is expected to buzz Earth today, January 9.
In fact, this asteroid is already on its way towards the planet at a ferocious speed of 30422 kilometers per hour. NASA estimates this asteroid will pass Earth at a distance of 5.4 million kilometers. What’s concerning about this asteroid is its gigantic size. This asteroid is estimated to be nearly 230 feet wide, making it nearly as big as an aircraft!
Asteroid fun facts
1. Most of the asteroids can be found in a specific region in space. It is called the asteroid belt – a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
2. Asteroids are usually made up of rocks, but they can also be made of metals such as nickel and iron, or even clay!
3. More than 150 asteroids are known to have a small companion moon, or even two moons!
4. Asteroids were considered as planets until the middle of the 19th century!
5. An asteroid was responsible for triggering the extinction of dinosaurs when it crashed on Earth near the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico more than 65 million years ago.