NASA’s chilling secret plan was revealed before the “close approach” of a space rock and Asteroid 2015 DR215.
The news was revealed one day before an asteroid made a “close approach” to Earth on Friday but another one will swing very close to our planet this weekend, and you can watch it live.
The Virtual Telescope Project will host a livestream of the asteroid’s “very close, but safe, encounter with us” on its WebTV page beginning at 6.30pm UTC on Sunday (1.30pm ET).
Read our Asteroid 2022 ES3 live blog for the latest news and updates…
Is ES3 hazardous?
Because of its size, astronomers do not believe the 2022 ES3 to be a potentially dangerous object, according to Newsweek.com.
The asteroid is expected to have a diameter of between 33 and 72 feet or roughly the width of a bowling lane.
To be classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid, or PHA, an asteroid must fulfill particular size and proximity to Earth requirements.
What would happen if an asteroid hit Earth?
Depending on the size of the space rock, an asteroid impact on the Earth could be an extinction-level event, and researchers have created simulations to see just how bad it could be.
Not all asteroids would mean the end of humanity and, in fact, a space rock would have to be pretty large to kill us all.
If an asteroid the size of the one that likely killed the dinosaurs hit Earth today, things would instantly change due to the force of the impact and its knock-on effect on the environment.
How fast will ES3 be traveling?
The asteroid will be traveling at 41,000 miles per hour when it comes between the moon and the Earth.
Nasa is hoping to launch its Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor mission in 2026.
If the agency does so, it will finally have a spacecraft dedicated only to hunting asteroids.
It’s hoped that the NEO Surveyor craft will find 90 percent of asteroids that are 460 feet or larger within the first decade of its mission.
Objects in the asteroid belt were only pinpricks of light in even the greatest telescopes until the advent of space flight, and their forms and geography remained a mystery.
The most current ground-based telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit above the Earth can discern a modest amount of information on the surfaces of the biggest asteroids, although even these are essentially fuzzy blobs.
Asteroids’ light curves and spectral characteristics can provide some information about their shapes and compositions, and asteroid sizes can be calculated by measuring the duration of star occultations.
Radar imaging, especially for near-Earth asteroids, can provide useful information regarding asteroid morphologies, orbital, and rotational properties.
Nasa monitors thousands of asteroids
Nasa has its eye on nearly 28,000 known near-Earth asteroids, and discoveries of new asteroids are said to go up by their thousands each year.
On that note, Nasa is hoping to launch its Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor mission in 2026.
What is the color of an asteroid?
Due to space weathering, asteroids get darker and redder as they age.
However, data shows that the majority of color change happens quickly, during the first hundred thousand years, limiting the use of spectral measurements in establishing the age of asteroids.
Nasa upgrades asteroid software, part four
Previously, scientists had to manually do calculations to try and work out the Yarkovsky effect and its impact on an asteroid’s path.
The hope is that the software can also help Nasa spot any potentially hazardous asteroids it may have missed.
What are Trojans?
Trojans are populations that share an orbit with a bigger planet or moon but do not crash with it because they orbit at one of two Lagrangian regions of stability, L4 and L5, which are 60 degrees ahead of and behind the larger body, respectively.
The Jupiter trojans are the most populous trojan species. Despite the fact that fewer Jupiter trojans have been detected, they are estimated to be as abundant as asteroids in the asteroid belt.
Other planets, including Venus, Earth, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune, have Trojans in their orbits.
Nasa upgrades asteroid software, part three
The Sentry-II software will finally let scientists take the Yarkovsky effect into account when they’re trying to figure out if an asteroid is going to hit Earth.
This was something the original software, called Sentry, couldn’t do.
Davide Farnocchia, a JPL navigation engineer, said: “The fact that Sentry couldn’t automatically handle the Yarkovsky effect was a limitation.”
Where do asteroids orbit?
The great majority of known asteroids are either co-orbital with Jupiter or orbit inside the main asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter’s orbits.
Nasa upgrades asteroid software, continued
Nasa will be upgrading its 20-year-old software with a new algorithm called Sentry-II, which will periodically scan a table of known potentially hazardous asteroids and their orbits.
Sentry-II will then calculate if any of the asteroids on the table or added to the table have a risk of hitting Earth.
The new system will be taking into account something called the Yarkovsky effect, which refers to when an asteroid absorbs sunlight and emits it as heat.
What is an asteroid?
Asteroids are small planets in the inner Solar System.
Historically, these phrases have been used to describe any astronomical object circling the Sun that did not resolve into a disc in a telescope and did not exhibit active comet-like features such as a tail.
As minor planets in the outer Solar System with volatile-rich surfaces comparable to comets were discovered, they were differentiated from the objects found in the main asteroid belt.
As a result, the word “asteroid” now applies to all minor planets in the inner Solar System, including those in Jupiter’s orbit.
Nasa upgrades asteroid software
Nasa has upgraded its asteroid hazard software to better detect potentially dangerous space rocks.
The US space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) uses a special type of software to assess potentially hazardous asteroids that could slam into Earth.
There’s no known imminent “doomsday asteroid” on its way but astronomers check the sky often just as a precaution.
When was the asteroid discovered?
On March 7, 2022, astronomers found this asteroid from the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.
On the same day, they revealed their discovery.
Saving Earth from asteroids, continued
The DART craft should hit a small asteroid called Dimorphos in September with the ultimate aim of moving it off course.
How close will ES3 come to Earth?
Nasa expects it to come about 205,414 miles from Earth.
Saving Earth from asteroids
Some experts are worried that Earth isn’t yet ready to defend itself from potentially deadly asteroids.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk once sparked concern when he tweeted: “a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defense.”
Nasa is looking into having some defense methods set up, however.
It recently launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission.
What is a NEO?
Nasa considers anything passing near Earth’s orbit a Near-Earth Object (NEO).
Thousands of NEOs are tracked by scientists to monitor whether they’re on a collision course with our planet.
Watch ES3 on close approach
As Asteroid 2022 ES3 approaches Earth, Nasa will be keeping a tight check on it.
The broadcast of the Virtual Telescope Project will begin on Sunday, March 13 at 1.30pm ET.
Its website reads: “Next 13 Mar. 2022, the near-Earth Asteroid 2022 ES3 will have a very close, but safe, encounter with us, coming at about 334.000 km from the Earth, 87% of the average lunar distance.
“The Virtual Telescope Project will show it to you live!”
Threatening space objects, continued
“We believe anything larger than one to two kilometers (one kilometer is a little more than one-half mile) could have worldwide effects,” Nasa’s site continued.
Just for reference, a standard 65 seat American school bus is about 35 feet long.
That means an asteroid smaller than a school bus could still be deadly depending on where it hit.
But for an asteroid to be “potentially hazardous,” it also has to meet other criteria.
Threatening space objects
“Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences.”
“Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere and cause little or no damage.”
“If a rocky meteoroid larger than 25 meters but smaller than one kilometer ( a little more than 1/2 mile) were to hit Earth, it would likely cause local damage to the impact area.”
How close will Asteroid 2022 ES3 get?
Nasa expects Asteroid 2022 ES3 to fly by about 205,414 miles from Earth.
This is very close for an asteroid; by comparison, the Moon is about 238,900 miles away from us.
Watch a ‘close approach’ asteroid this weekend
The Virtual Telescope Project will be live-streaming what it’s calling the “very close” approach of an asteroid this weekend.
Nasa will also be keeping an eye on Asteroid 2022 ES3 as it makes its close approach to our planet.
The Virtual Telescope Project livestream will start on Sunday March 13 at 6:30pm UTC (1:30pm ET).
Its website states: “Next 13 Mar. 2022, the near-Earth Asteroid 2022 ES3 will have a very close, but safe, encounter with us, coming at about 334.000 km from the Earth, 87% of the average lunar distance.”
“The Virtual Telescope Project will show it to you live!”
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