NASA warns of a 310-feet asteroid headed Earth's way
Earth cannot catch a break, it seems. After recording several hurtling asteroids in August, it looks like September won't be any different. We're only into the second week of the month and nearly a dozen asteroids flew past us. Now, NASA has issued a warning about a gargantuan 310-feet space rock headed our way. Dubbed '2008 RW,' it belongs to the Apollo Group.
Why does this story matter?
The asteroid parade that tested Earth's evasive skills last month doesn't seem to have an end. These cosmic rocks have the potential to bring down the curtain on us. However, we won't have to rely just on Earth's skills to evade potentially harmful asteroids. With NASA's DART and other future planetary defense systems, we may not have to worry about these mischievous rocks.
The asteroid was discovered in 2008
The asteroid 2008 RW is approximately 310 feet (94m) in diameter. The asteroid, belonging to the Apollo group, was discovered on September 2, 2008. It has its perihelion close to Earth's orbit, while the aphelion is between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The space rock will fly past us on September 13 at 1:20 am IST.
It will come as close as 6.7 million kilometers
The asteroid 2008 RW will come as close as 6.7 million kilometers to Earth. It will hurtle past Earth at a relative velocity of 10.21km/s (36,756km/h). If you consider the velocity at which the asteroid will be traveling, the distance will be covered in no time if a slight deviation occurs. An impact would release the energy of a few hundred nuclear bombs.
Near-Earth Objects within 8 million kilometers are potentially hazardous
Near-Earth Objects (NEO) are classified as Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHO) if their closest approach to Earth is within eight million kilometers. Of course, 2022 RW's 6.7 million kilometers is not as close as many of its predecessors that flew past Earth earlier this month and last month. However, it is still a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, according to NASA.