An asteroid – approximately the size of an aeroplane – is on its way to Earth and will reach its closest approach today, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
According to NASA, the asteroid known as NEO 2022 QP3 will pass by the planet today around 9:55 pm UTC, or 3:25 am IST. This one is a 100-foot wide asteroid which is expected to come as close as 5.51 million kilometres to the Earth.
The US space agency’s Planetary Defence Coordination Office has red-flagged the asteroid due to its close proximity and designated it as a “potentially hazardous object”. It is 19.5 times the distance to the Moon. CNEOS confirmed that the asteroid has a velocity of 7.93km per second.
This comes after a 100-foot-diameter asteroid NEO 2022 QQ4 whizzed past Earth on Saturday.
Asteroids are enormous space rocks that orbit the Sun. However, because of the gravitational pull of the planets, they are sometimes able to alter their course and even collide with them.
This risk of potentially deadly asteroids, though infinitesimally small, has prompted NASA to deploy its DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft.