Monday, October 14, 2019
Home Science and Astronomy Giant-Sized Asteroid Orbits The Earth

Giant-Sized Asteroid Orbits The Earth

Image Source: NASA

An enormous sized asteroid, a near equivalent of the world’s largest building, Burj Khalifa, whizzed past the earth on, Saturday, September 14 around 23:54 UTC at a speed of 23,100 Kph.

The asteroid, 2000 QW7, measures between 290m and 650m in width, and almost 828 metres in height, is considered a near-Earth object (NEO).
In comparison to the world’s tallest skyscraper, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which is 830 metres tall, the asteroid appear to be humongous, however, it is categorised as a medium-sized asteroid. Asteroids typical of this size are sufficient enough to cause catastrophic events, should they ever collide with the earth.

Asteroids and other space objects are considered near-Earth objects (NEOs) if they pass within 1.3 astronomical units of our planet, where one astronomical unit is equal to the distance from Earth to the sun, or 149.6 million kilometres. The 2000 QW7 passed by the Earth at a distance of 0.03564 astronomical units (5.3 million kilometres). According to a 2018 report put together by Planetary.org, there are more than 18,000 NEOs.

Experts have shown concerns in the past and continue to, because it is almost certain that an asteroid will hit the earth sometime, and we currently have no defence either to lessen the effect of the impact or completely steer the asteroid off a collision course.

Space rocks as large as 2000 QW7, can wipe out an entire city and wreak widespread destruction in a direct collision, according to NASA. NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, previously warned about the dangers of an asteroid collision. There is no prediction of a collision in the next 100 years; however, it cannot be completely ruled out.

“We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood; it’s not about the movies. This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know, right now, to host life, and that is the planet Earth”, Mr Bridenstine said, emphasising on the need to protect the earth against the catastrophic effect of asteroids.

An asteroid, known as “2019 OK”, large enough to be considered a threat, passed by Earth in July this year. It was discovered by the Brazilian SONEAR survey a day before its flyby, and its presence announced a few hours before it zoomed past our planet.  

According to data from NASA, 2019 OK was large and estimated to be 57 to 130m wide, and hurtling fast along a path bringing it within 73,000km of Earth, less than one-fifth of the distance to the Moon, and what the Royal Institution of Australia’s Professor, Alan Duffy, described as “uncomfortably close.”

An asteroid falling from space can possess incredible amounts of energy. A 600m-wide asteroid travelling at 48280.32 kph has an energy that equals a 1 million megaton bomb. This asteroid would have the energy 10 million times greater than the bomb that fell on Hiroshima. Such asteroid would have energy 10 million times greater than the bomb that fell on Hiroshima. Its quantity of dust and debris in the atmosphere would block out sunlight and exterminate most living things on the planet.




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