A massive 80 foot wide asteroid is heading straight for Earth today, September 19th. Here’s what NASA said.
Earth has experienced numerous close encounters with asteroids in recent months. August was bombarded with asteroid flybys and the month of September continues this trend. 3 asteroids passed close to Earth just yesterday and 2 more are expected to come close to the planet today, including Asteroid 2022 SF.
Asteroid 2022 SF is heading towards Earth today, September 19, at a breathtaking speed of 60,372 kilometers per hour, according to NASA. At a distance of nearly 5.5 million kilometers, it will be the closest approach to the planet. Although asteroid 2022 SF is not expected to impact Earth, it has still been classified as a potentially dangerous object due to the close proximity it will pass through.
Asteroid 2022 SF is part of the Apollo group of asteroids. According to the-sky.org, this asteroid takes almost 586 days to orbit the Sun once, with its farthest distance from the Sun being 275 million kilometers and its closest distance being 135 million kilometers.
A slight deviation in its orbit due to interaction with the planet’s gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it rocketing toward Earth.
The technology behind the science: How NASA studies and tracks asteroids near and far
Surveys conducted by NASA-supported ground-based telescopes — including Pans-STARRS1 in Maui, Hawaii, and the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona — have identified thousands of near-Earth objects. And a space-based telescope called NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others while scanning the sky at near-infrared light wavelengths from its polar orbit around Earth. From chips to software, these gadgets contain the best technologies of the day they were built.
NASA DART mission scheduled for asteroid impact on September 26th
The DART spacecraft recently got its first glimpse of Didymos, the binary asteroid system that includes its target Dimorphos. According to NASA information, DART will intentionally crash into Dimorphos, the asteroid moon of Didymos, on September 26th. While the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, this is the world’s first test of the kinetic impact technique, which uses a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid for planetary defense.
Using observations conducted every five hours, the DART team will perform three trajectory correction maneuvers over the next three weeks, each of which will further reduce the margin of error for the spacecraft’s required trajectory.