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Asteroid traveling 46,400 kmph to pass by Earth today
Asteroids usually pass by Earth as it hurtles through space at rapid speeds. The latest asteroid that is Earthbound is expected to pass by today, June 24th.
Express reports that an asteroid named 2010 NY65 will be Earthbound today, the 24th of June. It is a relatively large asteroid, measuring between 140 to 310 meters in diameter according to NASA, and thus it is classified as a Near-Earth Object or NEO. However, because of its size, the agency has also classified this as Potentially Hazardous because of the potential aftereffects it will cause should it collide with Earth.
2010 NY65 is currently zooming through space at a speed of 46, 400 kilometers per hour. When it approaches the planet, it will be at a distance of 3.76 million kilometers - still extremely far away by human standards but close enough to be noticeable. NASA stated that the chances of an asteroid collision at any time every year are one in 300,000 - meaning that even though the chances of it actually occurring is very very minute, it is not impossible.
Meanwhile, NASA will be sending a spacecraft to collide into one asteroid’s moon, now named Dimorphos which translates to “two forms.” This is in part of the agency’s DART program or Double Asteroid Redirection Test. Dimorphos is the moon of an asteroid named Didymos. The agency plans to launch this test in 2022.
The DART program is among the agency’s programs in planetary defense. The upcoming launch to Didymos will demonstrate the effectiveness of the asteroid deflection system that the agency has developed to deflect potentially hazardous asteroids from Earth. The European Space Agency or ESA compared the size of Dimorphos to the size of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.
Should the test at Dimorphos prove to be a success, then DART could be used to redirect dangerous asteroids that pose a threat to Earth in another direction. NASA is just one of the space agencies that are getting involved in planetary defense, By 2024, ESA will be launching its Hera spacecraft to Didymos and look into the results of the DART mission.