According to Live Science, an asteroid the size of a stadium will fly past the Earth in the wee hours of Thursday. By the time you read this, the asteroid will likely be happily cruising toward the Sun at a speed of roughly 20 miles (32 km) per second.
It is not unusual for asteroids to orbit the Earth in close proximity. The fact that it will pass very close to the globe makes it a little frightening, and it gets worse when astronomers only manage to identify it a few days before it passes.
Object 2022 OE2
These asteroids include the asteroid 2022 OE2, which was unknown to astronomers when it approached the Earth. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Next Five Asteroid Approaches homepage, the asteroid is roughly 700 feet (213 m) in size, or about the size of a stadium.
When you consider that the Moon is only 239,000 miles (385,000 km) from Earth, it will pass by at a distance of 3.2 million miles (5.2 million km), which is a respectable distance. The page lists all objects that are less than 4.6 million miles (7.5 million km) from Earth, however anything larger than 492 feet (150 m) is categorized as possibly hazardous.
As a result, asteroid 2022 OE2 poses a serious concern since a collision with another asteroid or the gravitational pull of a larger celestial object might substantially change its course and cause it to fly toward the Earth rather than pass it by.
preventing asteroids from hitting Earth
It’s interesting to note that all five of the asteroid approaches listed after that are this year’s discoveries. Including 2022 OE2, three of them take place today, August 4, and two others do so tomorrow, August 5.
Asteroid 2022 OB5 will make the closest approach as it travels away at a distance of 631,000 miles (a million km). The asteroid, which is no bigger than a vehicle at 18 feet (5 meters), would most likely burn up in the atmosphere if it ever approached Earth.
Two asteroids the size of buses passed extremely near to Earth last month—even closer than the Moon. They were both seen only a week before and were moving at a speed of 25,000 miles (40,000 km) per hour, giving extremely little time for a response.
The following asteroid might not be this small and might even be disastrous if it collides with Earth. NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission last year in an effort to discover how to divert such asteroids.
The mission will smash into a 525-foot-wide (160-meter) moon of an asteroid in September of this year and slightly alter its trajectory to see if it is feasible to do so in the future. We can only hope that scientists will have enough time to evaluate data from the DART mission before we see another unexpected asteroid heading our way, despite NASA’s assertion that it does predict a catastrophic asteroid impact within the next 100 years.