This Massive 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid Could Strike The Earth One Day, NASA Warns
NASA listed the asteroid known as 2015 BN509 as "potentially hazardous" that could hit the planet Earth one day. In fact, it streaked past the Earth in January at nearly 44,000 mph just 14 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Fortunately, it is now 3.3 million miles away. On the other hand, it was listed as hazardous due to the probability of a direct strike in the coming years and ambiguity in its orbits.
2015 BN509 asteroid is about 200 meters wide and 400 meters long in measurements. It is said that the space rock is larger than the size of the Empire State Building. Currently, NASA is charting all asteroids that pose dangers to the planet Earth, according to Express.
The American space agency is looking for ways to identify an asteroid that could be heading to the planet Earth. As of this time, there is no tested way to figure it out. On the other hand, NASA has an asteroid early warning system called Scout.
Paul Chodas at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which runs the Scout program, said that when a telescope first finds a moving object, all they know is it is just a dot moving in the sky. He added that people have no information about how far away it is.
Chodas further explained that the more telescopes they get pointed at an object, the more data they get and the surer they are how big it is and which way it is headed. On the other hand, sometimes they do not have a lot of time to make those observations.
Meanwhile, the 2015 BN509 asteroid's flyby of Earth in January was captured on film by the Arecibo Observatory. The giant radio telescope spotted the massive space rock lurching into the blackness of space, according to Mirror.
Dr. Edgar Rivera-Valentin, a planetary scientist with the Universities Space Research Association, said that the peanut shape comes from the fact that it is a contact binary where the two parts of asteroids could not successfully orbit each other and fell back together. He further said that with Arecibo they could characterize these objects.