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Friday, 29 July 2022

Asteroid 2022 KY4: Building-sized asteroid headed towards Earth today, first time in 100 years

 Asteroid 2022 KY 4: Building-sized asteroid headed towards Earth today, first time in 100 years

Asteroid 2022 KY4 is coming closest to the Earth than it has in about 100 years. It had come closer to the Earth the last time in 1959 and 1948. 

Asteroid 2022 KY4: A massive asteroid, almost double the size of the statue of Liberty, will make its closest approach to the Earth today, on July 17, 2022. NASA confirmed that the asteroid will make an extremely close fly by. 

NASA had warned about the building-sized asteroid earlier as well saying that it is as big as a 50-storey skyscraper. NASA confirmed that it will make its closest approach to the Earth on July 17, 2022. 

The asteroid named Asteroid 2022 KY4 is not expected to hit the Earth. Though the astronomers will be keeping a close watch on its trajectory, making sure that there is no deviation in its path that may bring it even closer to the Earth, or crash into it. 

Asteroid 2022 KY4: 7 Facts You Need To Know

1. The asteroid is travelling at an estimated speed of 16,900 mph, around 27,000 km/hr.

2. The asteroid is travelling at a speed that is around eight times as fast as a speeding rifle bullet.

3. The asteroid is about 290-feet wide, almost the size of a 50-storey skyscraper. 

4. It is coming closest to the Earth than it has in about 100 years.

5. Asteroid 2022 KY4 had come closer to the Earth the last time in 1959 and 1948. 

6. Asteroid 2022 KY4 is expected to safely flyby the Earth at a distance of about 3.8 million miles, which is 6.1 million kilometers away.  

7. The distance at which the asteroid will approach the Earth is more than the average distance between Earth and the Moon.

How likely is an asteroid to hit Earth?

Researchers have assured that Asteroid 2022 KY4 will make a close approach to the Earth at about 6.1 million km away but there is nothing to worry about. The distance is much farther than the asteroid 2022 NF, which had come within 56,000 miles (90,000 kilometers) of Earth on July 7. The asteroid won’t make another close approach to Earth till May 2048.

Besides this, space agencies like NASA are prepared for an event of a possible collision. NASA had launched an asteroid-deflecting spacecraft – Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in November 2021, which will slam directly into the asteroid in case it is expected to crash into the Earth. The collision won't destroy the asteroid, just slightly change its orbital path.

The spacecraft is likely to slam into a 525-feet wide asteroid Dimorphos later this year. The US space agency along with other space agencies continuously monitor cosmis objects that come anywhere near the Earth's trajectory. 

What will happen when asteroid hits the Earth?

Despite everything, an asteroid collision with the Earth is possible only in rare circumstances, as the space objects do not generally shift from their orbit despite the gravitational pull of a larger object.

However, if an asteroid indeed hits the Earth, the more energy is released, the more damage is likely to occur on the ground. For eg, if a mile-wide asteroid hits Earth, it would strike the planet's surface at about 48,280 kilometers per hour. At its speed, the energy that would be expelled would be roughly equal to a 1 million megaton bomb. 

The asteroids that are as big as 20-storey buildings could nestle energy equal to the largest nuclear bombs made today and would flatten reinforced concrete buildings falling under 8 kilometers from ground zero. This would mean completely destroying the cities around the impact zone. 

It could also trigger environmental effects by its impact such as shock waves, heat radiation, formation of craters and also Tsunamis if the water bodies are impacted. 

Only a massive asteroid, 7-8 miles wide in size, could have the capability of wiping out everything on Earth. The asteroid would create a massive dust plume upon impact that would engulf the entire planet and block out the sun and raise the temperatures where it has made the impact, killing billions of people. Even then, scientists feel that some of the life would survive.

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