NASA reports on Tuesday that four asteroids are uncomfortably close to Earth. Three of them are still outside Moon’s orbit, so it is still comparatively safe from hitting the planet.
Keeping an eye out for safety of Earth is a tough task considering the size of our Solar system and furthermore of Milky way galaxy. Asteroids, with potential to wipe out life on earth, have periodically hit Earth. However, recently NASA discovered more than a thousand asteroids which are heading towards Earth in the next five years, space agency claimed.
However, according to a report in International Business Times, one asteroid flew at 1,97,000 miles of earth on Tuesday. It was the largest of the four, measuring 100 feet across or about the size of an airplane. It was bigger than the asteroid that entered Russian atmosphere in 2013, measuring 65 feet, which damaged buildings.
The Asteroid and Comet Watch of NASA said that if any of the four hits Earth’s atmosphere, it could produce an air burst twice the energy that hit Russia and could destroy a major city, Dailycaller reported.
According to a report in pc-tablet, NASA will be conducting some missions to know the velocity, orbit, size and spin of the asteroids before deciding if such deadly rocks could be redirected. For such report, NASA has launched The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, which fired its Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) thrusters for the first time last weekend in order to adjust its trajectory on the outbound journey.
If all goes according to plan, OSIRIS-REx will arrive in August 2018 and spend the next two years photographing and mapping the asteroid’s surface to better understand its chemical and mineralogical composition, including selecting the sample site. It is expected to return to Earth in 2023.
It is well known that asteroids have potential to cause enormous damage if they hit the Earth. Historically, Dinosaurs have been wiped out probably by one such asteroid hit. Asteroids are leftover materials from the formation of the solar system and the beginning of life on Earth.
In recent times, asteroids have passed treacherously close to Earth. Just last week, an asteroid dubbed 2016 SR2 passed by Earth. But NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies say that planet is safe for now, and the chance of the asteroid impacting Earth on Sept 28, 2017 is 1-in-250 million. NASA has sought the assistance of other nations in redirecting the asteroids, which are travelling at about 55,923 miles per hour, away from Earth.