56-foot asteroid hurtling towards Earth TODAY; NASA issues warning

NASA has issued an alert about a speeding asteroid which is set for a close approach to Earth today. Know its speed, distance and more.

Although one or two asteroids usually fly past Earth every day, no less than 4 asteroids made close approaches with Earth yesterday! Another asteroid is on its way towards Earth today and it is a big one. This asteroid has huge destructive potential due to its sheer size and speed and could potentially cause destruction if it deviates slightly from its path. To track such asteroids, NASA uses its repurposed NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer 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 UN21 key details 

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 UN21. The 56 feet wide asteroid is expected to fly past Earth today, November 7, at a distance of 3 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 41940 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than a missile!

According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2022 UN21 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. It was discovered just days ago on October 28. This asteroid takes 868 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 400 million kilometers and nearest distance is 133 million kilometers. 

NASA’s programme to observe and categorize asteroids 

NASA has established a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The PDCO ensures the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) – asteroids and comets whose orbits are predicted to bring them within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) and of a size large enough to reach Earth’s surface – that is, greater than approximately 30 to 50 meters.

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