There is cause to worry as NASA has issued an alert against a colossal stadium-sized asteroid which is heading for our planet today.
Although small asteroids frequently pass by Earth, they do so safely or most of them burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere itself. But how big of an asteroid would have the destructive power to end all life on Earth? Well, NASA scientists estimate that an asteroid would have to be about 96 km wide to completely and utterly wipe out life on Earth.
Now, a colossal asteroid is expected to pass by Earth today. Here’s what NASA says about this asteroid.
Asteroid 2019 OR1
Space agencies around the world, including NASA are on alert as a gigantic 770 feet wide is expected to pass by Earth today. In fact, it is so big that its size can be compared to a stadium! NASA has warned that this space rock, named Asteroid 2019 OR1, will make its closest approach to Earth today, November 21, at a distance of 6.9 million kilometers.
Although the distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances, considering how big the asteroid is! It is already speeding towards our planet at a blistering 48182 kilometers per hour. That is nearly 3 times the speed of a missile!
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2019 OR1 belongs to the Aten group of asteroids. It was discovered on July 27, 2019. This asteroid takes 343 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 198 million kilometers and nearest distance is just 89 million kilometers!
NASA technology tracking asteroids
NASA not only uses its space telescopes and observatories like the NEOWISE to observe and study distant asteroids, but also a variety of ground-based telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in the Antofagasta Region of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future.