A newly discovered “potentially dangerous” asteroid roughly the size of the world’s tallest skyscraper is set to pass Earth in time for Halloween, according to NASA.
The asteroid, named 2022 RM4, has an estimated diameter of between 1,083 and 2,428 feet (330 and 740 metres) – just less than the 2,716 feet (828 metres) tall Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It will traverse our planet at about 52,500 mph (84,500 km/h), or roughly 68 times the speed of sound, According to NASA (Opens in a new tab).
At its closest approach on November 1, the asteroid will reach a distance of 1.43 million miles (2.3 million km) a landabout six times the average distance between Earth and the moon. By cosmological standards, this is a very small margin.
Related: Why are asteroids and comets strange shapes? (Opens in a new tab)
NASA defines any space object within 120 million miles (193 million km) of Earth as a “Near-Earth Object” and classifies any large object within 4.65 million miles (7.5 million km) of our planet as a “potential hazard”. Once these potential threats are reported, they are closely watched by astronomers, who study them with radar for any deviations from their expected trajectories that could put them on a devastating collision course with Earth.
There is no danger, but the newly discovered asteroid 2022 RM4 will pass less than 6 lunar distances on November 1. It will likely be 740 meters wide, and will shine to mag 14.3, within reach of backyard telescopes. unistellar This is very close for an asteroid of this size. # 2022RM4 pic.twitter.com/Z8khblg3GqOctober 5 2022
NASA is tracking and pinpointing the locations and orbits of nearly 28,000 asteroids Another asteroid collision warning system (Atlas) – A group of four telescopes capable of scanning the entire night sky every 24 hours.
Since the launch of the online Atlas system in 2017, more than 700 near-Earth asteroids and 66 comets have been observed. Two of the asteroids discovered by Atlas, 2019 MO and 2018 LA, smashed into Earth, the first exploded off the southern coast of Puerto Rico and the last landed near the borders of Botswana and South Africa. Fortunately, those asteroids were small and did not cause any damage.
NASA estimated the trajectories of all NEOs after the turn of the century. The good news is that Earth faces no known danger from a horrific asteroid impact for at least the next 100 years. According to NASA (Opens in a new tab).
But that doesn’t mean astronomers think they should stop looking. While the majority of NEOs may not end in civilization, like the planet-destroying comet in the 2021 satirical disaster movie Don’t Look Up, there are plenty of devastating asteroid impacts in recent history to justify continuing vigilance.
For example, in March 2021, a meteor the size of a bowling ball Exploded over Vermont (Opens in a new tab) Strong 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of TNT. In 2013, a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere over the city of Chelyabinsk in central Russia caused an explosion equivalent to about 400 to 500 kilotons of TNT, or 26 to 33 times the energy it released. Hiroshima bomb (Opens in a new tab). During the 2013 explosion, fireballs rained down on the city and its surroundings, damaging buildings, shattering windows, and injuring nearly 1,500 people.
If astronomers are to spy on a dangerous asteroid in our path, space agencies around the world are already working on possible ways to deflect its path. On September 26, the spacecraft for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Redirected non-dangerous asteroid Dimorphos by Knock her off the track (Opens in a new tab)modified the asteroid’s orbit for 32 minutes in the first test of Earth’s planetary defense system.
China also suggested (Opens in a new tab) It’s in the early planning stages of an asteroid redirection mission. By bombing 23 Long March 5 missiles in asteroid bennoThe country, which is set to swing within 4.6 million miles (7.4 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit between 2175 and 2199, hopes to turn a space rock out of a potentially catastrophic impact on our planet.
Originally published on Live Science.