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Asteroid bigger than Pyramid of Giza to swoop past Earth at 56,000 kmph

Mangalore Today News Network

New Delhi, Oct 14, 2021: With Nasa planning to launch the Lucy spacecraft to trojan asteroid swarms around Jupiter, a comic object is set to cross paths with Earth 48 hours before. Asteroid 2021 SM3, which is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza, will pass through Earth on October 14 in its trajectory.



As per the latest data from NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies, asteroid 2021 SM3 will pass through Earth at a distance of 12.81 Lundar Distance (average distance between the Earth and Moon). The asteroid has a diameter between 72 metres to 160 meters, which makes it bigger than the Pyramids in Egypt.

The asteroid is hurtling at a staggering speed of 56,916 kilometres per hour and will cross the planet on Friday. Nasa has classified it as a near-Earth object, however, there is no immediate danger to the planet from the flying object.

Asteroids are rocky fragments left over from the formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. According to the Nasa Joint Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which tracks asteroid movement, an asteroid is classified as a near-Earth object when its distance from our planet is less than 1.3 times the distance from Earth to the Sun (the Earth-Sun distance is about 93 million miles).

In the past few months, asteroids have become the centre of attention as humans plan not only to study them but also capture samples and bring them back. Meanwhile, Nasa is also planning to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to slow it down.The DART mission will target an asteroid as engineers and astronomers aim to create a defence system able to deflect potential asteroids headed towards Earth in future. The target asteroid for the mission is Didymos, which will act as the testbed for planetary defence-driven technologies aimed at preventing an impact by a hazardous asteroid.

The spacecraft will carry a suite of onboard cameras, sophisticated autonomous navigation software to track the developments. Engineers aim to change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one per cent due to the collision.

Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has so far tracked over 1000 Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA) since 1968. Over half of these asteroids have been detected using the telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico before it was damaged and decommissioned in 2020. Fourteen NEAs have been observed using antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex to transmit radio waves to the asteroids and the CSIRO’s Australian Telescope Compact Array and Parkes Observatory in New South Wales to receive the radar reflections.

Courtesy:India Today

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