Asteroid watch: Phew! Asteroid with huge destructive potential just hurtled past Earth today

NASA informed that an asteroid which has the potential to cause mass destruction just flew close past Earth today. Did it cause any damage?

Nearly 100 tons of space dust and sand sized particles hit Earth every day, according to NASA. Astonishingly, a vehicle-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface nearly once every year. However, this year has been unusual. There have been numerous close calls with asteroids as large as an aircraft. Although only once every few million years, a space rock large enough to annihilate the planet comes along. Impact craters on Earth and other planets are signs of such previous encounters.

Asteroid 2022 QH8 hurtled past Earth today

NASA informed that an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 QH8 just flew past the planet during early hours today, September 23. The asteroid is humongous in size with a width of nearly 160 feet which is the same size as a commercial aircraft. The asteroid was clocked at a blistering speed of 55,000 kilometers per hour.

It made a close approach with the planet during today’s early hours at a distance of nearly 4 million kilometers. Asteroid 2022 QH8 had huge destructive potential due to its sheer size and speed and could have caused mass destruction if it deviated slightly from its path. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office had red-flagged it as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid due to the close proximity it flew past the planet.

Asteroid 2022 QH8 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which are located in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter. The asteroid was recently discovered on August 29 2022 and takes nearly 1395 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. During this orbit, the asteroid’s farthest distance from the Sun is 613 kilometers while its nearest distance is 118 million kilometers.

Know the tech?

NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using the infrared data from its repurposed Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and can even predict its orbit years into the future. NASA then uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid’s path and its characteristics.

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