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Asteroid Threat! Dangerous 80-Foot Asteroid Speeding to Earth Today; NASA issues warning

A massive 80-foot-wide asteroid is going straight to Earth today, September 19. This is what NASA said.

Earth has witnessed numerous close calls with asteroids in recent months. August was bombarded with asteroid flybys and the month of September continues the trend. Three asteroids passed close to Earth yesterday, and two more are expected to pass close to the planet today, including asteroid 2022 SF.

Asteroid 2022 SF is headed for Earth today, Sept. 19, at a blistering speed of 60,372 kilometers per hour, according to NASA. It will make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of nearly 5.5 million kilometers. While asteroid 2022 SF is not expected to hit Earth, it is still classified as a potentially hazardous object due to the proximity with which it will pass Earth.

Asteroid 2022 SF is part of the Apollo group of asteroids. According to the-sky.org, this asteroid takes nearly 586 days to complete one orbit around the sun, with the farthest distance from the sun being 275 million kilometers and the nearest being 135 million kilometers.

A slight deviation in its path due to interaction with the planet’s gravitational field can alter its orbit and send it to Earth.

The technology behind the science: how NASA studies and tracks asteroids near and far

Surveys conducted by NASA-supported ground-based telescopes — including Pans-STARRS1 in Maui, Hawaii, as well as the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona — have identified thousands of near-Earth objects. And a space-based telescope called NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others as it scanned the sky for near-infrared wavelengths of light from its polar orbit around Earth. These gadgets contain the best technologies of the time they were built, from chips to software.

NASA DART mission set for asteroid impact on September 26

The DART spacecraft recently took its first look at Didymos, the twin asteroid system encompassing its target, Dimorphos. According to NASA information, DART will intentionally crash into Dimorphos, the asteroid moon of Didymos, on Sept. 26. While the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, this is the world’s first test of the kinetic impact technique, which uses a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid for planetary defense.

Using observations made every five hours, the DART team will perform three orbit correction maneuvers over the next three weeks, each further narrowing the margin of error for the spacecraft’s required trajectory to impact.

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