Several top NASA scientists strongly believe that devastating events like asteroid hits are not confined to the past, and it will happen in the future too, triggering massive devastation in the blue planet. In order to avoid a possible doomsday scenario, the space agency is now tracking all the near-earth objects that could pose a threat to the existence of life on earth. Now, NASA is apparently tracking an asteroid that could whiz past earth in September, at a closer distance than the moon.
More details of this potentially hazardous asteroid
NASA’s Center of Near-Earth Object Studies claims that this asteroid named 2011 ES4 is about 22 meters to 49 meters in diameter, and it is apparently screeching across the skies at a mindblowing speed of 18,253 miles per hour.
During the time of its close approach, this asteroid will be almost 2,38,000 miles away from the earth. Even though this distance is quite big in human terms, it is very short as per astronomical terms, considering the vastness of the space.
Even though the chance of a potential collision is pretty less, several factors like gravitational keyhole could attract the space rock to the earth’s atmosphere. Considering the small size of this asteroid, it may not reach the earth’s surface, but it could cause a mid-air explosion, very similar to the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor event which resulted in thousands of casualties and structural damage.
Why NASA is developing a planetary protection weapon?
Due to regular threats from space in the form of asteroids and meteors, NASA is currently developing a planetary defense weapon to deflect the original collision course trajectories of rogue rocks. This weapon is basically a giant spacecraft, and NASA is planning to hit this craft onto an approaching asteroid to change its trajectory.
But several space experts believe that NASA’s plans to deflect trajectory using planetary defense weapon will not work when giant space rocks like Apophis and Bennu approach the earth. According to these experts, the only viable way to destroy these asteroids is by exploding them using giant nuke heads.