A massive 30-meter-wide asteroid called 2022 SA1 is expected to fly terrifyingly close to Earth today, NASA says.
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has highlighted an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 SA1 in red, which is expected to fly past Earth at a very close distance. According to NASA, the asteroid will pass Earth today, September 21, at a distance of only 7.1 million kilometers from Earth.
The asteroid 2022 SA1 has been given a red flag by NASA, although it is not headed for a collision with Earth. It was classified as a potentially dangerous object due to its proximity to Earth. Asteroids closer than 5 million miles from Earth’s orbit are classified as potentially dangerous asteroids, according to NASA.
The asteroid 2022 SA1 will fly past Earth today, September 21, at a distance of 7.1 million kilometers from Earth at a dizzying speed of 50,760 kilometers per hour. This asteroid was recently discovered on September 17, 2022 and belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids, which is located in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter.
Did you know?
Asteroids have been responsible for some of the greatest events in history. From the Chelyabinsk disaster that claimed many lives to the extinction of dinosaurs millions of years ago, when asteroids crashed into Earth, they impacted lives.
Technology behind asteroid tracking
Most asteroids are observed using the NEOWISE project, which repurposed NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to act as a research telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. NASA then uses its ground radar to collect accurate data about the asteroid’s path and its characteristics.
NASA monitors these asteroids by studying data collected by various telescopes and observatories such as the Pan-STARRS, the Catalina Sky Survey and the NEOWISE telescope. NASA also has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to collect even more in-depth data using a new orbiter.