Tech UPTechnologyA 'potentially dangerous' asteroid is approaching Earth

A 'potentially dangerous' asteroid is approaching Earth

NASA has explained that the asteroid 2002 AJ129 will approach Earth on February 4. It was classified as a ‘Potentially Dangerous Asteroid’ for passing less than 7.84 million kilometers from Earth and measuring more than 140 meters. However, there is no need to worry. It will not impact the Earth, as it will pass at a distance equivalent to 10 times the average separation between the Moon and our planet, that is, about 4.2 million kilometers.

The asteroid, with dimensions between 0.5 and 1.2 kilometers, passes less than 0.05 AU (Astronomical Unit) from Earth next month, but this does not change the relevance given by the space agency, because it will not impact us.

We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and we know its orbit very precisely. Asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance, zero, of colliding with Earth on February 4 or at any time during the next 100 years.” clarifies Paul Chodas, director of NASA.

2002 AJ129 is a medium-sized asteroid was discovered in 2002 by the tracking system for objects near the Earth of the ‘Maui Space Surveillance Site’ , located on the island of Haleakala, in Hawaii (USA).


The reality of the asteroid


2002 AJ129 stands out for its eminent speed, higher than the average speed of asteroids known up to now , which at the time of the closest approach to our planet will be around 34 kilometers per second. This happens because the asteroid will pass very close to the Sun, just 18 million kilometers away. Of course, it must be remembered that on February 3, 2002 it was removed from the Sentry list, because there is no risk of impact in the next 100 years.


The truth is that this object is not the only one that passes close to Earth. Asteroids visit us frequently, leaving tons and tons of material on our planet. It is important to keep track of them, not so much because we believe that they will collide with our planet but because they can do so with instruments that are in the middle orbit of the Earth, such as satellites. GPS satellites, for example, are located at altitudes of about 20,200 kilometers, but there are more distant ones that operate in the high orbit of the Earth at about 35,000 kilometers. This means that you l asteroids pose a potential hazard to satellites.


The worst case scenario?

If a large asteroid hit the planet, we would probably all die. That possibility, very small but terrifying, is the reason why NASA tracks so many space rocks and to all of them that are expected to pass a few moons, the terminology of “potentially dangerous” is added that causes so much confusion in the media. not specialized.

The agency conducted a simulation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2016 on what might be done if a large asteroid was actually found to be on a collision course with Earth. Fortunately,
no such asteroid is known to exist.

Reference: NASA /

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