Asteroids: NASA spots asteroid traveling 27,939 mph, expected to approach within the week
A lot of asteroids have been spotted approaching Earth, and this year is no different. NASA’s asteroid trackers have taken notice of one particular rock traveling towards Earth at a rapid pace.
Express reports that the agency’s asteroid trackers have spotted a rock going Earth-bound at a speed of 27, 939 miles per hour on a close approach trajectory. Formally referred to as 2015 BK509, this asteroid also measures between 88 to 200 meters in diameter and thus is classified as a Near-Earth Object or NEO. The agency predicts that it will approach the planet by Saturday, the 29th of February.
Because BK509 is a relatively small asteroid, there is a chance it may either burn up upon contact with the atmosphere making it explode, or it could only cause damage to the area it impacted on. It is the larger asteroids that are a concern, as they could trigger natural disasters on a global scale if they ever hit the Earth. But fortunately, this rock is not going to collide with the planet any time soon or ever as the closest it will get will be at a distance of 0.04792 astronomical units. In human terms, it is equivalent to 7.16 million kilometers, which is still extremely far by our standards but close enough for it to be very noticeable.
Meanwhile, asteroid collisions are usually known for producing catastrophic results. But on the other side of things, a study suggests that the asteroids also provide enrichment of certain elements that they also leave behind when they collide with the planet. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Tsukuba, who analyzed samples of the Cretaceous-Paleogene or KPg boundary clays and the concentrations of certain elements such as copper, silver, and lead to see what kind of process resulted in enrichment of these elements.
They found two enriched components in the boundary layer, and both components had very different element compositions. One composition had incorporated the mineral referred to as pyrite, whereas the other composition did not. According to the study’s first author Professor Teruyuki Maruoka, “Since the enrichments of elements in these two components of the boundary clay were accompanied by enrichments of iridium, both components might have been induced by the processes related to the asteroid impact.”