The ‘Surprise’ asteroid passed close to Earth days after it was discovered

An asteroid is the dimensions of two soccer fields and its influence on Earth would produce the vitality equal of 1,000 nuclear bombs. (Photo: Reproduction/NSA Lab)

A newly discovered asteroid the dimensions of two soccer fields has passed close to Earth.
Named 2022 OE2, the rock was discovered in late July and reached a distance of 5.1 million kilometers, greater than 13 instances the gap between Earth and the Moon.

An asteroid hitting Earth would launch the vitality equal of a thousand nuclear bombs. But don’t fret, there is not any want to panic. That’s as a result of the star, though “nearer” by way of astronomical distance, continues to be too distant to keep in touch with our planet, in accordance to NASA data.

Asteroids belong to the Apollo group, the identify given to those who orbit the Sun and whose path by house typically passes by Earth. More than 15,000 such objects are recognized and monitored by house companies.

According to NASA, there isn’t a danger of one of many recognized asteroids hitting Earth within the subsequent 100 years. But it is necessary to acknowledge the “recognized”: we’re discovering new issues on a regular basis, and lots of of them come from “blind locations” such because the Sun, the place they can’t be detected by most telescopes.

For comparability functions, on July 7 asteroid 2022 NF passed solely 90 kilometers from us, a a lot smaller distance than the present one, and it continues to be protected. So, with out concern, it just isn’t right this moment that we are going to be destroyed by an asteroid.

But you is likely to be considering: if these asteroids are so distant from us, why is it necessary to observe them? Even at nice distances, sudden adjustments can happen, reminiscent of a collision with one other asteroid or a gravitational pull from one other planet. This can also be thought of unlikely, however harmful.

This is why NASA created and launched, in September 2021, the DART mission, or “Double Asteroid Redirection Test”. It will check a brand new thought to keep away from a potential collision between the asteroid and the Earth: as an alternative of destroying the rock, as many say, the thought is to ship the spacecraft to collide with it at a low velocity, giving a “push” that may change it. his actions are to keep away from contact. That is, if we will discover out and attain him in time.

The experiment will probably be carried out by the collision of the DART spacecraft with Dimorphos, a 160-meter-long asteroid known as Didymos, at a distance of 780 meters. And the efficiency and adjustments within the Dimorphos trajectory will probably be intently monitored by the European cubesat known as LICIACube, and much from Earth, permitting scientists to know if the plan labored.