Asteroid 2022 TD will be coming extremely close to the Earth today, October 6, according to NASA. Can it get trapped by Earth’s gravitational pull and strike us?
With about 20000 Near Earth Objects (NEO) discovered so far, asteroids fly past our planet on a daily basis. These asteroids range between the size of a pebble and the Burj Khalifa. Shockingly, an asteroid will come frighteningly close to the Earth, closer than the Moon. Asteroids pose a potential risk to Earth and it is hard to tell when one of these asteroids might actually strike the planet. Realizing the complicated nature of asteroid monitoring, NASA built a technological superior planetary defense wing which hosts a number of departments like the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and others which use multiple ground-based telescopes as well as the NEOWISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) telescope to keep track of all these asteroids. And according to the data, today, October 6, the Earth is going to witness a bus-sized asteroid coming extremely close to it. The fear is that the asteroid might get pulled in due to our planet’s gravitational field and can strike us. But how likely is it?
Bus-sized asteroid making a dangerous approach towards the Earth
According to the data provided by JPL, the asteroid is called 2022 TD. The four-digit number denotes the year it was first discovered in. The asteroid is 31-foot wide and is roughly the size of a bus. The asteroid is expected to come frighteningly close, as close as 372000 kilometers to the Earth. Shockingly, this is less than the distance between Earth and the Moon. Traveling at the speed of 36396 kilometers per hour, it will not take the asteroid more than a few hours to smash into the Earth if it gets pulled in by the Earth. While its size is not large enough for it to cause global catastrophe, it can still cause localized destruction and can be a cause of concern.
At the moment, the asteroid is likely to make a safe passage across the Earth. As the asteroid is moving at an extremely high speed, it will be able to deter the gravitational pull of the Earth. However, anything can happen in space and that’s why telescopes will be monitoring the space rock for any signs of deflection till it moves well past the Earth.