JAKARTA – NASA The Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) announced that a giant asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building will approach Earth on May 27, 2022.
Adapted from Live Science, Monday (23/5/2022), the asteroid named 7335 (1989 JA), its existence is predicted to be 4 million kilometers or almost 10 times the average distance between Earth and the Moon.
However, given the enormous size of the space rock, which is 1.8 km in diameter and relatively close to Earth, NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially hazardous.”
This means that 7335 (1989 JA) could cause major damage to Earth if its orbital path changed and the rock hit Earth.
According to NASA, 7335 (1989 JA) is the largest asteroid to make a close approach to Earth this year.
Scientists estimate that the asteroid is moving at a speed of about 76,000 km/h, or 20 times faster than a speeding bullet.
The asteroid, however, will not approach Earth again until June 23, 2055, when it will orbit further, or within about 70 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
This asteroid is one of more than 29,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that NASA tracks every year.
According to NASA, NEO refers to any astronomical object that passes within about 48 million km of Earth’s orbit.
Most of these objects are very small, and 7335 (1989 JA) is larger than about 99 percent of the NEOs NASA observes.
Then, 7335 (1989 JA) also belongs to a class of asteroids called the Apollo class, which refers to asteroids that orbit the Sun while periodically crossing Earth’s orbit.
Meanwhile, astronomers know there are about 15 thousand such asteroids.
NASA itself, has been monitoring NEOs like this closely, and recently launched a mission to test whether a potentially dangerous asteroid could someday be deflected from a collision course with Earth.
In November 2021, NASA launched a spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will collide head-on with the 160-meter-wide asteroid Dimorphos in the fall of 2022.
The collision, however, will not destroy the asteroid, but may slightly change its orbital path