NASA discovers asteroid is a dead ringer for the Empire State Building

Think about this hurtling via house: Scientists have discovered an asteroid with dimensions just like the Empire State Building.

This asteroid, which lately sped previous Earth, has caught the consideration of NASA astronomers for its weird lengthy form. The house rock — which has maybe whizzed by to set the report straight that not all asteroids are vaguely ball-like — is greater than 3 times so long as it is large.

To get a sense of its scale, scientists have estimated the rock is about 1,600-by-500 ft, roughly corresponding to that of the world-famous landmark that looms over 100 tales above New York.

“Of the 1,040 near-Earth objects noticed by planetary radar to this point, this is one in every of the most elongated we’ve seen,” stated Lance Benner, principal scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement(Opens in a new tab).



A mistake on the Webb telescope simply led to a shocking discovery

Tweet may have been deleted
(opens in a new tab)
(Opens in a new tab)

The asteroid, referred to as 2011 AG5, zipped previous Earth at a secure distance of 1.1 million miles away on Feb. 3, based on the U.S. house company. However that strategy gave astronomers their first crack at learning its dimension, rotation, floor, and silhouette intimately since the object was found 12 years in the past.

“This is one in every of the most elongated [asteroids] we’ve seen.”

The picture above is a collage of six footage taken of the lengthy object by the Goldstone Solar System Radar(Opens in a new tab) antenna dish in California. There have been no indicators of King Kong clinging to the towering rock, however astronomers did make a few different observations: It has a darkish charcoal colour, seems to be scooped on one facet, and is slowly spinning round each 9 hours.

It takes the asteroid about twice as lengthy to orbit the solar as Earth and received’t have a close to flyby with this planet till 2040, when it may come inside 670,000 miles, based on NASA. That is shut when it comes to the cosmos — house, in spite of everything, is a huge place — nevertheless it’s nonetheless 3 times farther than the moon is to Earth.

A 2012 plot of asteroid 2011 AG5, which exhibits that it travels past the orbit of Mars and as near the solar as midway between Earth and Venus.
Credit score: NASA / JPL-Caltech / NEOPO

Need extra science and tech information delivered straight to your inbox? Enroll for ClassyBuzz’s Prime Tales publication right now.

Hundreds of thousands of house rocks orbit the solar. They’re the rocky rubble left over from the formation of the photo voltaic system about 4.6 billion years in the past. Most of that historical detritus is too distant to pose a menace to this planet. The bulk are in the most important asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, however sometimes rocks get nudged into the inside photo voltaic system, comparatively nearer to Earth.

There are not any identified asteroids on an impression course with Earth. Scientists are, nonetheless, protecting a shut watch on 30,000 large objects(Opens in a new tab) on the market and estimate there could possibly be 15,000 or so extra ready to be found. Utilizing highly effective telescopes to scan the sky, astronomers are discovering about 500 new sizable house rocks in Earth’s photo voltaic system neighborhood annually.

“An asteroid impression is an especially uncommon occasion,” stated Lindley Johnson, planetary protection officer for NASA, final 12 months. “Possibly as soon as a century is there an asteroid that we might actually fear about and need to deflect.”


“Possibly as soon as a century is there an asteroid that we might actually fear about and need to deflect.”

Tweet may have been deleted
(opens in a new tab)
(Opens in a new tab)

However even smaller rocks may cause immense destruction. An impression by an asteroid some 100 to 170 ft large may destroy a small city(Opens in a new tab), based on NASA. Ten years in the past this week, on Feb. 15, 2013, an undetected meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia(Opens in a new tab), inflicting a catastrophe that affected six cities and injured 1,600 individuals. The rock was simply 60 ft throughout.

Nations are creating warning techniques and protection methods, in case an asteroid or comet ought to ever meander into an orbit that might jeopardize civilization. As a check, NASA launched a spacecraft in November 2022, referred to as the DART mission, to deliberately crash into a innocent asteroid in deep house to attempt to shift its trajectory. The $330 million train was profitable, proving NASA is able to thwarting a doubtlessly hazardous house rock in the future.

Shortly after 2011 AG5 was found, some people were concerned(Opens in a new tab) it could possibly be a hazard to the planet a long time into the future. Armed with little details about its orbit at the time, scientists could not make correct estimates about its location to place individuals’s minds comfy.

Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies(Opens in a new tab) at the lab, stated the asteroid “turned a poster little one” when early observations confirmed it had a small likelihood of a future Earth hit.

“Continued observations of this object dominated out any likelihood of impression,” he stated in a statement.(Opens in a new tab) “And these new ranging measurements by the planetary radar group will additional refine precisely the place it will likely be far into the future.”

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button