NASA has revealed that an asteroid the size of an airplane is headed straight to Earth today! Danger looming?
While smaller asteroids often come close to Earth, none of them have the potential to cause major damage if they hit the surface. According to NASA, an asteroid the size of a football field hits the Earth every 2000 years, causing significant damage. Given that there has been no such asteroid crash in recent memory, Earth could well be in for it. Giant asteroids have been responsible for some of the greatest events in history. From the Chelyabinsk disaster that claimed many lives to the one that caused the extinction of dinosaurs millions of years ago, when asteroids crash into Earth, they have affected lives.
Now NASA has warned that one is on the way, and while it’s not a planet-killer, it’s still large enough to cause catastrophic damage if it hits Earth.
Key details about Asteroid 2019 XS
Asteroid 2019 XS is already on its way to Earth at a dizzying speed of 42727 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 6.4 million kilometers, according to NASA. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has warned that Asteroid 2019 XS is huge, ranging between 147 feet and 328 feet!
For reference, the largest commercial aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380 is 239 feet long, making the asteroid even bigger than the plane!
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2019 XS was discovered long ago on April 4, 2000. It belongs to the main Apollo group of asteroids, a group of Near-Earth asteroids named after the giant Apollo asteroid from 1862, discovered by the German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2019 XS takes just 368 days to orbit the sun, with the maximum distance from the sun being 199 million kilometers and the minimum distance being 101 million kilometers.
Asteroid fun fact
According to NASA, the orbits of asteroids can be changed by Jupiter’s enormous gravitational pull and occasional encounters with planets such as Mars or other objects. These chance encounters can knock asteroids out of the main belt and hurl them into space in all directions over the orbits of the other planets.