9.4-foot space horror! This asteroid set to get as close as 18700 km to Earth today, says NASA - Hindustan Times

9.4-foot space horror! This asteroid set to get as close as 18700 km to Earth today, says NASA

Apr 11, 2024 10:51 AM IST

9.2-foot Asteroid 2024 GJ2 is all set to get uncomfortably close to Earth today, NASA revealed.

US space agency keeps track of all near-Earth asteroids that wander anywhere close and one that is coming today, is going to get horrifically near to our planet. The reason why a wary eye is kept on the asteroids that get too close to Earth for comfort is to know well in time whether they will get any closer or whether they have any chance of actually crashing onto our planet. Notably, a planet the size of Earth has a pretty strong gravitational pull and this can actually tug these space rocks ever-closer. The latest such horror has been dubbed as Asteroid 2024 GJ2.

NASA says an asteroid that is under 10 feet is set to make a close approach to Earth today.
NASA says an asteroid that is under 10 feet is set to make a close approach to Earth today.

Asteroid 2024 GJ2

NASA has revealed that this is just a small 9.4-foot asteroid, but the problem is that it has strayed too far near the Earth. For perspective, just know that this asteroid is as big as a car. The closest that this asteroid is expected to come to our planet is 18700 km. The Moon is as far away as 385,000 kilometers from Earth. This means it will come much closer than even our Moon!

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About asteroid

According to scientists Asteroids are rocks, some are made of metal too, and they orbit the Sun. They can be tiny, and some as big as boulders and while others are even hundreds of kilometers across. They are fascinating in nature as they are pristinely preserved material leftover from the time that the solar system was taking shape some 4.6 billion years ago.

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How NASA tracks asteroids

Needless to say, since they have potential for massive damage, space agencies have the job of tracking them. The US space agency NASA uses a range of instruments. These are observatories equipped with powerful telescopes that scan the skies from Earth. These observatories are located in various places around the world, such as Lowell Observatory in Arizona and Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.

NASA also has a huge number of these observatories up there in the sky to better understand their nature as well as calculate their trajectories properly. NEOWISE is one such instrument to better track asteroids and it uses infrared technology to detect asteroids. Considering that it is almost impossible to spot asteroids that may be coming from behind the Sun, this observatory’s infrared instruments help locate them even if they are hidden in the glare of the Sun, but only to an extent.

Read More: This massive, 370-foot asteroid set to come within 3.8 mn miles of Earth today

Then there is another notable observatory in the form of the Earth-based Deep Space Network and Goldstone Observatory. They use radar and other technologies in order to come to an accurate calculation of how fast asteroids are travelling as well as locate their positions at any given time.

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