Asteroid flybys are a common occurrence. In fact, small asteroids pass by Earth almost every day. They do so safely, and the majority of them burn up in the atmosphere; very few of these space rocks ever reach the surface. If you’re wondering about planet-killing asteroids, they make a few million-year trip to Earth. According to NASA, an asteroid about 96 km wide would be required to wipe out all life on Earth. A stadium-sized 680-foot asteroid, though not nearly as large, is set to buzz Earth tomorrow. While it will not collide with Earth, it will come dangerously close. This is what NASA has to say about this asteroid.
Asteroid 2014 HK129
NASA and other space agencies around the world are on high alert as a massive 680-foot-wide asteroid is expected to pass by Earth tomorrow, December 20. In fact, it is so large that it can be compared to the size of an entire stadium! NASA has warned that this space rock, known as Asteroid 2014 HK129, will come within 2.5 million kilometres of Earth tomorrow.
Although the distance appears to be great, it is actually quite small in astronomical terms, given the size of the asteroid! It is already hurtling towards our planet at 41689 kilometres per hour, nearly three times the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile.
The asteroid 2014 HK129, discovered on April 27, 2014, belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids, according to the-sky.org. This asteroid takes 810 days to orbit the Sun, with a maximum distance from the Sun of 379 million kilometres and a closest distance of only 130 million kilometres.
NASA technology for asteroid research
NASA uses not only its space telescopes and observatories, such as the NEOWISE, but also a variety of ground-based telescopes, such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is located in Chile’s Antofagasta Region of the Atacama Desert.
NASA has also installed a new impact monitoring system that employs an algorithm known as Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. Using this infrared data, NASA can track the asteroid’s orbit and even predict its orbit for years in the future.