NASA: As many as 3 asteroids will be flying past the Earth today. Among them, one giant asteroid is as large as the Empire State Building. Should we be afraid of a potential asteroid strike?
NASA: An unusually massive asteroid will be approaching the Earth today accompanied by two of its ‘lackeys’, according to the American Space agency, NASA. Three dangerous asteroids are headed towards Earth and one among them is as large as the Empire State Building. If this asteroid, even accidentally, were to strike the Earth, it would cause large-scale destruction. And these fears are not entirely unfounded. In the last month, we have seen two instances of an asteroid striking the planet, with 2022 EB5 being the more noteworthy among them. Luckily, those asteroids were extremely small and did not cause much damage. But, when a 210 meters wide asteroid strikes, things will be very different. So, should we be worried? Read on to find out.
According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, these three asteroids headed towards the Earth are named 2022 GU2, 2022 GD3 and Asteroid 363599 (2004 FG11). While the first two are relatively small space rocks at 18 and 40 meters wide, 2004 FG11 is an apollo-class asteroid at 210 meters width. Due to its size and proximity to the Earth, it has been classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid.
NASA: A potentially hazardous asteroid to make its way towards the Earth
In terms of closest approach, 2022 GU2 and 2022 GD3 will fly past the Earth from a distance of 1,830,000 kilometers and 3,110,000 kilometers, whereas Asteroid 363599 (2004 FG11) will make its closest approach at a distance of 7,390,000 kilometers. Now, to the unaware, this distance might seem too much to ever pose a threat to the Earth, but it should be remembered that in terms of astronomical distances, it is a small number. In terms of astronomical units, this asteroid’s closest approach to Earth will be at a distance of just 0.05 au. Added to the fact that it is moving at a speed of 24,503 km/s, it can close that distance in just a short amount of time.
NASA considers any asteroid within a range of 193 million kilometers of the Earth a near-Earth object or NEO. Every asteroid within this range is constantly monitored by the space agency as they all pose a threat to our planet. At the moment, NASA believes that none of these asteroids pose a threat of striking the planet. But to maintain caution, the Planetary Defense Coordination Office of NASA is vigilantly tracking these asteroids for any last moment deviations from their orbit.