NASA Says Massive Airplane-Sized Asteroid Will Make Its Closest Approach To Earth Today

NEO 2022 QP3 will pass by the planet today around 9:55 pm UTC, or 3:25 am IST.

The asteroid activity around Earth has increased lately. Now, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has issued a warning that another asteroid – approximately the size of an airplane – is on its way to Earth and will reach its closest approach today, August 28.

NASA’s CNEOS informed that the asteroid known as NEO 2022 QP3 will pass by the planet today around 9:55 pm UTC, or 3:25 am IST. This one is a 100-foot wide asteroid which is expected to come as close as 5.51 million kilometers to the Earth.

The US space agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has red-flagged the asteroid due to its close proximity and designated it as a “potentially hazardous object”. It is 19.5 times the distance to the Moon. CNEOS confirmed that the asteroid has a velocity of 7.93km per second.

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Meanwhile, this comes after a 100-foot-diameter asteroid NEO 2022 QQ4 whizzed past Earth on Saturday. It was 5.93 million kilometers from our planet when it made its closest approach. As per NASA’s CNEOS, the giant asteroid moved at a speed of 7.23km per second.

Asteroids are enormous space rocks that orbit the Sun. However, because of the gravitational pull of the planets, they are sometimes able to alter their course and even collide with them.

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This risk of potentially deadly asteroids, though infinitesimally small, has prompted NASA to deploy its DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft. The DART mission is an initiative toward planetary defense, where the US space agency would be launching a spacecraft right into an asteroid’s core to deflect it from its original path.

DART will slam into its intended target, which is not on a course towards the planet, later this year as part of the test.