Although late identification of asteroids can be fatal to Earth, the planet appears to have been lucky this time. No, we’re not joking. According to NASA, an asteroid the size of a refrigerator recently impacted Earth’s atmosphere just hours after it was discovered. This is the seventh time an asteroid has been identified just before it collides with the Earth. It wasn’t harmful since it was too little, but we might not be so lucky all the time. On March 11, astronomer KrisztianSarneczky discovered an asteroid at Hungary’s Piszkéstet Observatory. Sarneczky alerted the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, which verified it.
NASA was founded in 1958 to replace the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency intended to have a clear civilian focus, fostering peaceful applications of space research. NASA has spearheaded the majority of the United States’ space exploration endeavors since its inception, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and, subsequently, the Space Shuttle. NASA oversees the construction of the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System, Commercial Crew vehicles, and the projected Lunar Gateway space station in addition to sustaining the International Space Station. The agency is also in charge of the Launch Services Program, which oversees launch operations and manages countdowns for uncrewed NASA missions. NASA’s science efforts are focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System; advancing heliophysics through the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program; discovering bodies all through the Solar System with advanced automation spacecraft such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics such as the Big Bang through the Great Observatories and associated programs.
According to NASA, the asteroid, which was dubbed 2022 EB5, was only 612 feet long, making it “too tiny to pose a harm to Earth.” NASA’s “Scout” system, which monitors asteroids for prospective impacts, computed the rock’s orbit and concluded that it will almost surely hit the Earth. It also alerted NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies and other asteroid impact systems.
What Exactly Is an Asteroid?
Asteroids are tiny, stony objects that revolve around the sun. Although asteroids circle the sun in the same way as planets do, they are considerably smaller. Our solar system is teeming with asteroids. The majority of them are found in the main asteroid belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids can also be found in other regions. Some asteroids, for example, are discovered in planets’ orbital paths. This signifies that the asteroid and the planet orbit the sun in the same orbit. Asteroids like these can be found on Earth and a few other planets.
What caused asteroids to form?
Asteroids are remnants of our solar system’s creation. Our solar system originated around 4.6 billion years ago when a massive cloud of gas and dust collapsed. When this occurred, the majority of the material fell to the center of the cloud, becoming the sun.
Some of the dust condensing in the cloud became planets. The asteroid belt objects were never able to be merged into planets. They are remnants from the time when planets first formed.
Is it true that all asteroids are the same?
Not at all! No two asteroids are identical since they originated in various places at varying distances from the sun. Here are a few examples of how they differ:
Asteroids, unlike planets, are not round in shape. They are angular and jagged in form.
Some asteroids are hundreds of kilometers across, yet many more are the size of pebbles.
Most asteroids are composed of various types of rocks, although some contain clays or metals such as nickel and iron.
What can asteroids teach us?
Because asteroids formed at the same period as other objects in our solar system, astronomers may learn a lot about the evolution of planets and the sun from them. Scientists may learn about asteroids by analyzing meteorites, which are small fragments of asteroids that have passed through our atmosphere and fallen on Earth’s surface.
Several NASA space missions have also flown past asteroids and observed them. In 2001, the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft arrived on Eros, a nearby asteroid. In 2011, the Dawn spacecraft flew to the asteroid belt. It orbited and examined Vesta, the huge asteroid, and Ceres, the dwarf planet.
NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx probe in 2016 to examine Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid. OSIRIS-REx collected a sample of dust and boulders from Bennu’s surface after studying it for several years. OSIRIS-REx is on its way back to Earth! In September 2023, its sample container will crash land in the Utah desert. Scientists will next retrieve the container and investigate the dust and pebbles for clues regarding the formation of planets and the origins of life.
According to Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, asteroids like 2022 EB5 reach Earth’s atmosphere every 10 months, but it’s difficult to notice one before it enters the atmosphere.
“Incredibly few of these asteroids have actually been found in space and widely examined before impact, mostly because they are very weak until the final few hours, and a survey telescope must observe precisely the right region of sky at the right moment for one to be detected,” Chodas explained.
While this asteroid surprised astronomers, there is no need to be concerned about a larger, more devastating asteroid doing the same. Larger asteroids, according to Nasa, are simpler to see and maybe identified well in advance. The agency stated that this asteroid demonstrated its systems’ ability to be very precise in estimating an object’s anticipated impact site, which would aid planetary defense systems in being completely prepared.
Nasa is now testing its planetary defense systems if a deadly asteroid collides with Earth. Nasa launched the DART system in November, to investigate if smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid might affect its trajectory.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA /ns/) is an autonomous federal government organization in the United States that is in charge of the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research.