An asteroid wider than two football fields will pass by Earth in the early hours of Thursday, August 4, 2022, United States (US) time. photo/live science
Stout Space Rock is estimated to be 170 to 380 meters tall, which is almost twice the width of an American football. Astronomers also confirmed that 2022 OE2 is an Apollo class asteroid, meaning it orbits the Sun and crosses Earth’s orbital path.
Quoted from SINDOnews from the Live Science page, Thursday (4/8/2022), asteroid 2022 OE2 is expected to pass by Earth at a distance of about 5.1 million kilometers, which is 13 times the average distance between Earth and the Moon. To put this in context, asteroid 2022 is far from NF, which is only 56,000 miles, or 90,000 km, or about 23% of the average distance between Earth and the Moon on July 7.
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NASA monitors thousands of near-Earth objects in this way and has estimated the trajectories of all of them beyond the end of the century. Astronomers know about 15,000 such asteroids. The impact of an asteroid of this size releases more energy than 1,000 nuclear bombs.
The good news is that Earth is not at risk of a catastrophic asteroid impact for at least the next 100 years. However, astronomers realized that a small change in trajectory, such as a collision with another asteroid or planet’s gravitational tug, could alter the asteroid’s orbital path and have the potential to wreak havoc on Earth.
Therefore, NASA takes the defense of planet Earth against the threat of asteroids very seriously. In November 2021, NASA launched an asteroid deflection mission called the Double Asteroid Diversion Test, in which a spacecraft will collide with the 160-meter-wide asteroid Dimorphos in the fall of 2022.
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The collision would not destroy the asteroid, but it could slightly change the orbital path of the space rock. The mission will help test the feasibility of asteroid deflection should some space rock pose an imminent threat to planet Earth in the future.